THE HITS JUST KEPT ON COMING: The Dodgers yesterday suffered an 18-2 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Mariners in Peoria. Right-hander Chad Billingsley allowed a run on three hits in 2.0 innings before the Dodger relief core allowed 17 runs (15 earned) in 7.0 innings. Billingsley threw 24 pitches, 18 for strikes. Left-hander Shawn Estes, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee, was touched for seven runs (five earned) on six hits in 1.1 innings. Non-roster outfielder Mitch Jones blasted a two-run homer in the ninth to keep the Dodgers from being shut out. Outfielder Matt Kemp had two of the Dodgers' four hits.
INJURY BUG BITES: Infielder Tony Abreu injured his right groin yesterday in the bottom of the fifth inning on Rob Johnson's grounder to the left side of the infield. Abreu on the play ranged far to his right, fielded the ball cleanly, and threw across his body to first base. He remained in the game for the final out of the inning, and was then pinch-hit for in the top of the sixth. Abreu last year missed the entire season with right groin and hip injuries. The 24-year-old underwent season-ending surgery on May 28, 2008 at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colorado.
THE KID: Left-hander Clayton Kershaw today takes the mound for the first time in 2009 Cactus League play. Kershaw is coming off a fine rookie season in 2008 in which he went 5-5 with a 4.26 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) after beginning the year with Double-A Jacksonville. The Dallas native had entered the 2008 campaign rated as the Dodgers' No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America, and burst onto the scene as a 19-year-old in Spring Training. He joined big league camp last year during the first week in March, and made quite an impression on March 9 vs. Boston. That day, he retired the side in order in the fourth inning on 10 pitches, getting Mike Lowell to pop out, inducing J.D. Drew on a broken-bat groundout, and striking out Sean Casey looking on a knee-buckling curveball. Kershaw, who is the youngest player in camp and turns 21 on March 19, made two relief appearances in last year's NLCS against the Phillies, allowing a run in 2.0 innings.
THE OTHER KIDS: Other pitchers scheduled to appear today include right-hander James McDonald and left-handers Scott Elbert and Brent Leach. McDonald enters the 2009 season as the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect according to Baseball America. Elbert, meanwhile, ranks as No. 5, and Leach ranks as No. 21. McDonald is also rated by the publication as having the Best Changeup and the Best Control in the Dodger chain. Elbert is rated as a having the Best Curveball. Also note the three additions from minor league camp on today's travel roster: right-handers Javy Guerra, Steve Johnson, and Miguel Pinango. Johnson is the son of former Major Leaguer Dave Johnson, who pitched for the Orioles from 1989-91 and is currently an Orioles broadcaster.
A TRUE CLASSIC: The MLB Network on Tuesday announced the rosters of the teams participating in the World Baseball Classic. The Dodgers taking part in the second WBC are Russell Martin (Canada), Jonathan Broxton (USA), Valentino Pascucci (Italy), and Luis Maza (Venezuela). All four players are scheduled to leave Dodger Spring Training to join their teams tomorrow. Games get underway on Thursday, March 5.
GRAND OPENING: Opening Day at Camelback Ranch – Glendale is tomorrow, when the Dodgers take on the Chicago White Sox at 1:05 p.m. Glendale native and American Idol champ Jordin Sparks will sing the National Anthem. A flyover featuring four F-16s from nearby Luke Air Force Base is set to accompany the performance, as well as a Color Guard formation from Luke AFB and fireworks to cap off the celebration. Come Back Buddy, a local band that covers hits from the 1950s and 60s, will perform in the bandstand area located directly in front of the two-acre lake near the center field rotunda entrance from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
WELCOMING OUR PARTNERS: The Dodgers would like to welcome their Minor League Partners to Camelback Ranch – Glendale this weekend. Those visiting the campus include Triple-A Albuquerque President Ken Young and General Manager John Traub; Double-A Chattanooga Owner/President/GM Frank Burke; Single-A Great Lakes President/GM Paul Barbeau, Single-A Inland Empire Owner/President David Elmore and Co-Owner Donna Tuttle Elmore; and Rookie-advanced Ogden President Dave Baggott. All seven partners have been touring the Camelback Ranch complex today, and they will all attend tomorrow's home opener against the White Sox.
NO NEED TO WAIT: The Dodgers are scheduled to play 12 games against National League West Division opponents during the 2009 exhibition slate, including four against the Colorado Rockies (February 28 and March 15, 19, and 26) and San Francisco Giants (February 26, March 4, April 1 and 5), as well as two against the Arizona Diamondbacks (March 10 and 31) and San Diego Padres (March 3 and 29).
THIS DATE IN DODGER HISTORY: On February 28, 1941, the Dodgers and Giants opened Spring Training with a game in Havana, Cuba. The Dodgers, then of Brooklyn, pulled out a 4-3 win.