Thirty-Six Pitchers Battling for 12 Jobs

There are 36 pitchers in Dodgers camp vying for 11 or 12 spots on the 25-man roster. The list includes 20 on the 40-man roster and 16 non-roster invitees. There are 15 left-handers and 21 right-handers in camp. The totals do not include Mark Loretta, who appeared in one game with Milwaukee in 2001.

WHO'S YOUR PADRE?: The Dodgers today returned to Peoria to take on the San Diego Padres, just four days after dropping an 18-2 heartbreaker to the Seattle Mariners along West Paradise Lane. Following today's clash with their SoCal rival, the Dodgers will play four of their next five games at brand-new Camelback Ranch – Glendale. The lone road game in that stretch is a Friday matinee with the Cubs in Mesa, the Dodgers' second and final trip of the spring there.

SO CLOSE YET SO FAR: The Dodgers and Padres are scheduled to play just twice this spring in Cactus League play despite only an 11.5-mile drive between the teams' spring training homes. The two teams will meet on Sunday, March 29 at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. Los Angeles opens the regular season with a four-game series against the Padres in San Diego on Monday, April 6. The Padres won't travel to Dodger Stadium until April 30 for a four-game weekend set.  

BUMBLE B: The Dodgers yesterday played a 7.5-inning "B" game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Field 1 at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. Infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr., who enters the 2009 season as the Dodgers' No. 6 prospect according to Baseball America, suffered a broken left tibia in a collision at home plate in the bottom of the fourth inning. 

The 21-year-old DeJesus was trying to score on Lucas May's single to left field. DeJesus collided with Brewers catcher and fellow Puerto Rico native Carlos Corporan. DeJesus was the Dodgers' Minor League Player of the Year in 2008, when he batted .324 with a Southern League-best .419 on-base percentage at Double-A Jacksonville. In other news from the game, left-hander Randy Wolf gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in 2.0 innings.  He struck out two and hit a batter as well. Mitch Jones hit a solo homer to centerfield, unofficially his third homer of the spring.

  PAYING THE BILLS: Right-hander Chad Billingsley today makes his second appearance of the spring. Friday against the Mariners on this very same field, the 24-year-old took the loss after allowing one run on three hits in 2.0 innings. He walked none and struck out none, and threw 24 pitches, 18 for strikes. Billingsley came into Spring Training after suffering a spiral fracture of the fibula in his left leg in Reading, PA. 

Billingsley, who injured the leg after slipping on ice on the stairway to his house, had surgery to repair the fibula on November 22, a procedure performed by Dr. Paul Neuman.  Billingsley in 2008 posted a team-best 16 wins. His 3.14 ERA led Dodger starters and ranked seventh in the National League.  He also led the entire Dodger staff with 201 strikeouts.  Billingsley threw 200.2 innings over 35 games (32 starts) in 2008.  

EMOTIONAL RETURNS: Three players on today's travel roster have spent time in a Padres uniform during their careers.  Infielder Mark Loretta donned a Padres uniform from 2003-05, when he hit .314 with 91 doubles, 32 homers, and 186 RBI in 413 games.  Left-hander Shawn Estes in 2008 signed a minor-league contract with San Diego, and went 2-3 with a 4.74 ERA in nine games (eight starts) after beginning the year with Triple-A Portland and enduring a three-month stint on the disabled list with a fractured left thumb. He also appeared in one game with the Padres in 2006 before undergoing "Tommy John" ligament-replacement surgery on June 7, 2006.  Estes missed the entire 2007 season. Finally, right-handed knuckleballer Charlie Haeger appeared in four games with the Padres in 2008 after being claimed off waivers from the Chicago White Sox on September 10.  

A TRUE CLASSIC: Four players in Dodgers big league camp will be participating in the 2009 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).  

ETHIER IN THE COMMUNITY: Outfielder Andre Ethier and his wife Maggie will be honored by Athletes Against Autism on Friday at Arcos Elegancia Estate in Scottsdale.  Andre and Maggie will be receiving the 2K Inspirational Award in recognition of their commitment to philanthropy and community involvement.  The evening includes a fashion show with wives of Major Leaguers, a live auction, and a concert.  For donation and ticket information, contact Eric Chevalier at 949-200-7145.  

KEMP IN THE COMMUNITY: Outfielder Matt Kemp is also involved in a charitable effort for autism.  Kemp, whose 14-year-old half-brother Carlton is autistic, has joined Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) as a spokesperson. Kemp and his agent Dave Stewart will be hosting a casino night (mainly a celebrity poker tournament) on Saturday, March 14 at Phoenix's Penske Racing Museum with all proceeds benefitting TACA. 

The event also features teammates Chad Billingsley and James Loney. Also expected in attendance are Torii Hunter, Eric Chavez, Matt Holliday, and Rickey Henderson. Not to go unnoticed, Orlando Hudson, whose cousin was born with the disorder, has his own foundation called Curing Autism Through Change and Hope (CATCH), which he founded several years ago.  

OPEN TRYOUT: The Dodgers on Friday will host their annual open tryout.  Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. and workouts start at 9:00 a.m. on the minor league fields at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. The tryout is open to players 18 years of age and older, and those players cannot be enrolled in a high school or college. They also cannot be affiliated with any other baseball organization (i.e. an independent league).  For more information, call the Dodgers Scouting Hotline at 323-224-1512.  
br> THIS DATE IN HISTORY: On March 3, 1997, Tommy Lasorda received a telephone call in the press box of Holman Stadium in Vero Beach from Ted Williams, who told the manager he would be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  

UPCOMING PITCHING PROBABLES
Wednesday, March 4 vs. San Francisco: LHP Clayton Kershaw, RHP James McDonald, LHP Scott Elbert, Guillermo Mota and RHP Scott Strickland.

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