Spring Training Notes #6 - February 19, 2009‏

The first full squad workout of the spring got underway at 10:30 this morning after an hour-long team meeting with speakers Joe Torre, Ned Colletti, and Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda. The first order of business for the workout: baserunning. Third-Base Coach Larry Bowa led a 50-minute discussion about running the bases, and the players then went to stretch and play catch.

  Today's workout also included basic defensive work, bunt defense, and batting practice.  The pitchers, meanwhile, worked on more of the same: fielding bunts and comebackers.  Pitchers in Groups 3 and 4 had their third bullpen session of the spring.  Pitchers in Groups 1 and 2 worked on bunting with Maury Wills in Maury's Pit.

Blake DeWitt, a native of Sikeston, Missouri, enjoyed quite the year in 2008, going from Double-A third baseman to Major League third baseman to the Dodgers' second baseman during the club's post-season run.  Off the field, he became an even bigger star.   

DeWitt was the featured speaker at the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce's November luncheon, where he was presented a key to the city by Mayor Mike Marshall.  In the same ceremony, DeWitt learned his No. 6 jersey would be retired by the Sikeston High School baseball team this spring.   

Also, U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson (MO-08) congratulated DeWitt in the House of Representatives on September 27, 2008.  Mayor Marshall, meanwhile, also declared April 2008 in Sikeston as "Blake DeWitt Month."  And by the way, DeWitt attended the same high school as America's Got Talent 2008 champion opera singer Neal E. Boyd.   

The DodgerVision staff is producing a daily webisode for visitors of Dodgers.com during 2009 Spring Training.  Simply visit the home page of Dodgers.com, and watch the video in the upper right-hand corner.  The four-minute shows highlight the day's workout, provide exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, and commentary from Dodger players, coaches, and staff.  Keep up with all the latest from Camelback Ranch - Glendale by watching these video packages from the DodgerVision staff.   

Dodger reliever Cory Wade is still shut down with inflammation is his right shoulder.  Non-roster right-hander Ronald Belisario tomorrow is expected to arrive at Camelback Ranch – Glendale.  

Special Advisor to the Chairman and Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda today spoke to children at New Vista Academy in Chandler, Arizona.  Lasorda, who has seven honorary doctorate degrees, will deliver a motivational address to a student body of more than 450 kids about what it will take for them to be successful in life.    

Lasorda, who makes more than 100 appearances a year, will also make numerous community visits during the Dodgers' first spring training in Glendale.  New Vista is an elite academic institution, grades K-6, with about 200 students who qualify for the Johns Hopkins Gifted and Talented program, which identifies and supports gifted students.   

Television rights holders KCAL9 and FSN Prime Ticket have been on location for the last few days producing commercial shoots and original programming on the Dodgers.  KCAL9 has been filming spots with the Blue Man Group theme with Jonathan Broxton, Blake DeWitt, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Russell Martin, and Joe Torre.  FSN Prime Ticket, meanwhile, has been working on its series called "In My Own Words" with Casey Blake and Matt Kemp.  Do stay tuned.   

Dodger Spring Training invitee infielder Luis Maza returns to the Dodgers for his third straight year in the organization after spending the first nine seasons of his pro career in the Minnesota organization.   

He made his Major League debut in 2008 with the Dodgers after 944 minor league games over his first 10-plus pro seasons.  The 28-year-old batted .228 in 45 games with the Dodgers, getting the call shortly after Rafael Furcal went on the disabled list with a back injury during the first week in May.  Maza made his Major League debut on May 14 at Milwaukee as a defensive replacement at shortstop, and collected his first big league hit on May 15 at Milwaukee off Ben Sheets.    

Following the season, he played for Aragua of the Venezuelan Winter League and batted .306 (49-for-160) with 25 RBI in 43 games.  

The Camelback Ranch – Glendale complex is 367 miles from Dodger Stadium, according to Google Maps.  When traveling by car, you'd be on I-10 for 355 miles of the journey (nearly 97 percent of the trip).  

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