Hudson Passes Physical; Wrist Good to Go

Orlando Hudson passed his physical, which most felt he would, and his one-year deal is now official. The base salary is $3 million, plus a $380,000 signing bonus. Hudson gets a $3 million salary with a $380,000 signing bonus and up to $4.62 million based on plate appearances maxing out at 600.

Before passing the physical, the Dodgers brought in a hand and wrist specialist to look over Hudson's medical reports and speak with the surgeon who performed the procedures on him after the dislocation. "He's coming in with no restrictions," GM Ned Colletti said.

The surgery was to his glove hand, so it won't affect him defensively. He is a switch hitter, and the only real concern is whether he will be hindered when he hits left-handed. I'm told there is no chance that he will hit only right-handed while the wrist goes through the final stages of the healing process.

Manager Joe Torre spoke to Blake DeWitt and urged him to be patient and he would be kept updated up to date as to where he'll fit in. Torre seems to be leaning toward sending DeWitt to Triple-A instead of having him ride the bench and see too little action.

Colletti is apparently of a like mind. "It might be a touch more risk with this, but we felt he was worth the risk," He said.

It seems the Dodgers worked Hudson out twice before signing him. First at Pepperdine three weeks ago over two days. And then last Sunday they also worked him out in Houston, where GM Ned Colletti said Hudson showed improvement and was "more fluid" with more strength in the wrist.

"We're not going to dismiss him, obviously, because he has done too much for us. We know he is a big part of our future. As the spring goes on, I think we will have to evaluate what the best thing for him is. What is best for him is best for us. We want him to continue his progress.

As to the suggested DeWitt to third and Casey Blake to LF if Manny continues to play hard to get, Torre said it could certainly be part of a double switches, but not on an everyday-starting-lineup basis. It appears that if Manny does not sign, Juan Pierre will be the Dodgers left fielder.

Deal or No Deal
Colletti told Tony Jackson of the Los Angeles Daily News that he has had more conversations with Scott Boras about Manny Ramirez "in the past seven days than in the past few months. The conversations are more frequent and longer."

When asked what that means, Colletti told him, "The days are ticking off the calendar." He wouldn't say whether he considers it progress, but it sure sounds like they are getting closer to a deal -- not that "closer" in any way means "close," Jackson added.

Do Starts Equate to Wins>
Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci points out that the 2008 Phillies and Rays were classic examples of The Schilling Theory: The team that gets the most starts out of its projected rotation has the best shot at winning.

The Phillie's starters Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, Brett Myers and Kyle Kendrick, plus spot starter Joe Blanton, started 58 of Philadelphia's 162 games. James Shields, Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine and Edwin Jackson combined for 153 starts

Want to see The Schilling Theory at work? Here are the only teams in 2008 to get 30 starts from four starters:

1. Phillies (Won World Series)
2. Rays (Won AL pennant)
3. Angels (Won AL West)
4. White Sox (Won AL Central)

Since 2000, 28 teams, or about three per year, were fortunate enough to have four starters make 30 starts. Nineteen of those teams made the playoffs, or 68 percent of them.

For information only, the Dodgers projected starters Brad Penn, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Derek Lowe, Hong-Chih Kuo and Esteban Loaiza had 46 wins.

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