Dodgers Spring Training Preview: The Outfield

The Dodgers open their spring training schedule on Saturday, February 26.

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2011 Dodgers Spring Training Schedule

The Los Angeles Dodgers open their spring training schedule on Saturday with a pair of split squad games. They play in Tempe against the Los Angeles Angels, and in Scottsdale against the San Francisco Giants, with both games starting at 12:05 p.m. PST. Their first televised game of the spring is on Sunday against the Angels, which is also the spring home opener for the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona.

Here is the full spring schedule for the Dodgers, including TV information when applicable. All times are PST:

  • Feb. 26: at San Francisco, 12:05 p.m.
  • Feb. 26: at Angels, 12:05 p.m.
  • Feb. 27: vs. Angels, 12:05 p.m. (Prime Ticket, MLB Network)
  • Feb. 28: vs. White Sox, 12:05 p.m. (Prime Ticket, MLB Network)
  • Mar. 1: at Cleveland, 12:05 p.m.
  • Mar. 2: vs. Kansas City, 12:05 p.m. (Prime Ticket, MLB Network - delayed)
  • Mar. 3: at Cincinnati, 6:05 p.m.
  • Mar. 4: vs. San Francisco, 6:05 p.m.
  • Mar. 5: vs. Cincinnati, 12:05 p.m.
  • Mar. 6: at Cubs, 12:05 p.m. (WGN)
  • Mar. 7: at Colorado, 12:10 p.m.
  • Mar. 8: at Milwaukee, 12:05 p.m.
  • Mar. 9: vs. Seattle, 12:05 p.m. (Prime Ticket, MLB Network)
  • Mar. 10: vs. San Diego, 12:05 p.m. (Prime Ticket, MLB Network - delayed)
  • Mar. 11: at Oakland, 12:05 p.m.
  • Mar. 12: at San Francisco, 12:05 p.m. (MLB Network - delayed)
  • Mar. 12: at Kansas City, 12:05 p.m.
  • Mar. 13: vs. White Sox, 1:05 p.m. (Prime Ticket)
  • Mar. 13: at Cubs (Las Vegas), 1:05 p.m. (Prime Ticket - delayed)
  • Mar. 14: at Texas, 1:05 p.m.
  • Mar. 15: vs. Texas, 1:05 p.m. (Prime Ticket, MLB Network)
  • Mar. 17: vs. Arizona, 1:05 p.m. (Prime Ticket)
  • Mar. 18: at San Francisco, 1:05 p.m.
  • Mar. 19: vs. Milwaukee, 1:05 p.m. (KCAL, MLB Network)
  • Mar. 20: at White Sox, 1:05 p.m. (WGN)
  • Mar. 21: vs. Oakland, 1:05 p.m. (Prime Ticket)
  • Mar. 21: at Arizona, 6:40 p.m.
  • Mar. 22: vs. Cubs, 1:05 p.m. (Prime Ticket, MLB Network)
  • Mar. 23: at White Sox, 1:05 p.m.
  • Mar. 24: vs. Colorado, 1:05 p.m. (Prime Ticket, MLB Network)
  • Mar. 25: at Arizona, TBD (Charity game to benefit Arizona shooting victims)
  • Mar. 25: at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
  • Mar. 26: at San Diego, 1:05 p.m.
  • Mar. 27: vs. Cleveland, 1:05 p.m. (KCAL)
  • Mar. 28: vs. Angels (Dodger Stadium), 7:10 p.m. (KCAL)
  • Mar. 29: at Angels (Angel Stadium), 7:05 p.m. (Fox Sports West)
  • Mar. 30: vs. Seattle (Dodger Stadium), 7:10 p.m.

For more Dodgers spring training news and information, be sure to read True Blue LA.

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2011 Dodgers Spring Training Preview: The Outfield

The Los Angeles Dodgers begin their 2011 spring training schedule on Saturday with a pair of split squad games, in Tempe against the Angels and in Scottsdale against the Giants. Spring training camp is in full swing with a series of daily full squad workouts this week at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. Our 2011 spring training preview looks now at the Dodgers outfield.

Anchors

Right Field: Andre Ethier

Center Field: Matt Kemp

Ethier and Kemp were the offensive leaders in 2009 when the Dodgers won 95 games and had the best record in the National League. Last year, however, both struggled in their own way as the Dodgers slumped to 80-82. Ethier broke his pinkie finger in May and wasn't the same afterward, hitting .256/.348/.426 with nine home runs in 69 games after the All-Star break. Kemp got off to a great start in 2010, but struggled all over the field: he slumped defensively, he was caught stealing 15 times and picked off four times, and had a sub-.300 on-base percentage in each of the final four months of the season.

The Dodgers need both Ethier and Kemp to produce in 2011, as they will be asked to carry the load offensively in what looks like a below average lineup.

Left Field

Guaranteed Contracts: Marcus Thames (RHB), Jay Gibbons (LHB), Tony Gwynn Jr. (LHB)

Out of Options: Xavier Paul (LHB)

This is a position of great concern for the Dodgers, and one they really didn't address this offseason. The Dodgers expect Thames and Gibbons to form a platoon, with Gwynn filling in occasionally at all three outfield spots. The wild card here is Paul, who is out of options, and seems to be the odd man out. Paul could force his way onto the roster with a strong spring, but it would likely take a collapse by Gibbons to create room on the roster. While Gibbons did sign a guaranteed contract, it is only partially guaranteed (the $650,000 deal is only guaranteed for the major league minimum of $414,000, with the other $236,000 coming if Gibbons makes the team).

With Manny Ramirez limited to just 48 games in left in 2010, Dodger left fielders hit .261/.322/.392 with 14 home runs last season.

Others

On 40-man Roster: Jamie Hoffmann, Trayvon Robinson

Non-roster Invitees: Gabe Kapler, Trent Oeltjen, Jerry Sands, Eugenio Velez

Kapler, like Gibbons and catcher Rod Barajas, is a local boy who came home to play for his local team. Sands was the organization's minor league player of the year in 2010, but he will likely start in the minors to start the season so he can play every day. Velez has some versatility in that he has experience playing both infield and outfield, though his defense at second base has been in question.

For more Dodgers spring training news and information, be sure to read True Blue LA.

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2011 Dodgers Spring Training: Vicente Padilla To Have Surgery Thursday

Los Angeles Dodgers' pitcher Vicente Padilla will have surgery on Thursday to free up a nerve that is entrapped by a muscle in his forearm, the club announced today. The surgery will be performed in Los Angeles by Drs. Neal ElAttrache and Steve Shin, and Padilla is expected to return to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona on Friday. The timetable for his return will be determined after surgery.

Padilla returned to Los Angeles Tuesday to have an MRI after experiencing right elbow pain. He missed 51 games last season with an irritated ulnar nerve in that same right elbow, as he was on the disabled list from April 23 to June 19. His injury concerns -- he also missed the better part of a month and a half later in the season with a bulging disc in his neck -- led the Dodgers to sign him to an incentive-laden contract with a relatively low base salary of $2 million. Padilla can earn incentives for either starting or relieving, up to $9 million in bonuses as a starter or $6.8 million in relief.

Padilla was expected to begin the season in the bullpen, and was rotation depth behind starters Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, and Jon Garland. With Padilla now out for an unspecified amount of time, that opens up a bullpen spot, which increases the chances for someone like Kenley Jansen (who, with Ronald Belisario not in camp, is likely to make the team anyway), Ramon Troncoso, Jon Link, Travis Schlichting, and Blake Hawksworth, who is out of options.

For more Dodgers spring training news and information, be sure to read True Blue LA.

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2011 Dodgers Spring Training Preview: The Infield

Spring training is underway and in full swing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who held their first full squad workout Tuesday at Camelback Ranch, their spring training home in Glendale, Arizona. The Dodgers open their spring training schedule on Saturday, with a pair of split squad games against both the Angels and Giants. Our 2011 spring training preview looks now at the Dodgers infield.

Starters

The Dodgers big offseason signing was giving $21 million over three years to Uribe, who has a career on-base percentage of .2998. That said, Uribe has been good in the last two seasons (.266/.318/.464 with 40 home runs as a Giant), and is an improvement over the Blake DeWitt / Ryan Theriot combo the Dodgers had at second base in 2010.

The Dodgers need Loney to rebound after two straight seasons with a sub-.400 slugging percentage, and they need the left side of the infield to be healthy (and productive), or else the below average Dodger offense could crater like it did in the second half of last season, when they averaged just 3.3 runs per contest after the All-Star break.

Bench

Roster Lock: Jamey Carroll

The Dodgers plan to rest Blake more often this season, at least once a week, and Carroll figures to get the bulk of that playing time. Carroll filled in ably when Furcal was hurt last season, starting 64 games at shortstop, and also started games at second base, third base, and left field. The Dodgers have versatility in that both Uribe and Carroll can play three positions.

Bench Battle: The Dodgers figure to have one bench spot up for grabs in the spring, and it will likely go to an infielder, as the club currently has five outfielders under contract for 2011. The front runners for the final bench spot are the weak hitting trio of Russ Mitchell, Juan Castro, and Aaron Miles, with the latter two the veteran favorites even though they enter spring as non-roster invitees to camp.

Also on 40-man roster: Ivan DeJesus, John Lindsey

Non-roster invitees: Dee Gordon, Justin Sellers

For more Dodgers spring training news and information, be sure to read True Blue LA.

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2011 Dodgers Spring Training: Vicente Padilla Returns To Los Angeles For MRI On Right Elbow

The Los Angeles Dodgers have suffered their first significant injury of spring training today, as Vicente Padilla is returning to Los Angeles to have an MRI on his right elbow. Padilla missed 51 games last season with an irritated ulnar nerve in that same right elbow, as he was on the disabled list from April 23 to June 19. The Dodgers expect MRI results on Wednesday.

Padilla also missed significant time last season with a bulging disc in his neck, making just one start after August 15, and those injury concerns led to him signing an incentive-laden contract to return to the Dodgers this winter. Padilla signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers on December 9 with a 2011 base salary of $2 million, plus incentives for both starting and relieving that can total up to $9 million more. Padilla is expected to begin the season in a relief role, as the Dodgers have a full starting rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, and Jon Garland, but Padilla is also expected to give the Dodgers depth should one of their starters get injured.

Padilla was signed by the Dodgers in August 2009 after getting released by the Texas Rangers. He has had success in Los Angeles, as he is 10-5 with a 3.82 ERA in 24 games as a Dodger, including 23 starts. Padilla was 6-5 last year with a 4.07 ERA in 95 innings.

For more Dodgers spring training news and information, be sure to read True Blue LA.

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2011 Dodgers Spring Training Preview: Catchers, As L.A. Moves On From Russell Martin

Now that Dodgers position players have reported to spring training at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, today marks the first full squad workout for the team. Pitchers and catchers reported last week, and the Dodgers have 59 of their 60 players in big league camp, with relief pitcher Ronald Belisario as the only one yet to report. Our 2011 Dodgers spring training preview turns its attention to catchers, as the team tries to move on from the Russell Martin era.

Martin was the starting catcher for the Dodgers for the last five seasons, but a serious hip injury combined with declining production from the two-time All-Star led to his dismissal this winter. The Dodgers decided to non-tender Martin in December, as he likely would have commanded between $5-6 million in salary arbitration. Martin ended up signing a free agent contract with the Yankees for $4 million in guaranteed money. Here is a look at the catchers the Dodgers chose to replace Martin: 

Rod Barajas: The backstop was born in nearby Ontario and went to Cerritos Junior College, and was claimed off waivers from the Mets last August. Barajas parlayed a hot six weeks as a Dodger (he hit .297/.361/.578 with five home runs in 25 games) into a $3.25 million deal to be the primary catcher for the Dodgers. However, Barajas for all of 2010 hit .240/.284/.447 and for his career has hit .239/.284/.412. The Dodgers are paying the 35-year old the highest salary of his major league career.

Dioner_navarro_2006_andy_lyonsgetty_images_medium Dioner Navarro: Navarro was a Dodger in 2005, and began 2006 as the starting catcher, but a wrist injury to Navarro opened the door for Martin to step in and take the reigns. Navarro, like Martin, was an All-Star in 2008, but as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. Like Martin, Navarro has slumped since 2008, but Navarro has fallen off a cliff. Navarro hit just .212/.263/.306 in the last two seasons, spent time in the minors in 2010, and hastened his exit from Tampa by leaving the team after getting left of last year's playoff roster. Still just 27, there is a chance for a rebound from Navarro, but the Dodgers are paying $1 million for that chance.

A.J. Ellis: The soon-to-be 30-year old is more known for his defense, though he does have a career .398 on-base percentage in the minor leagues. Light on power -- Ellis has 17 home runs in eight minor league seasons -- Ellis has spent part of the last three seasons with the Dodgers. Ellis ended last season on fire, reaching base in 27 of his final 49 plate appearances over the final month, but he figures to start this season in Triple A, again. Such is the life of a baseball player with a minor league option remaining.

Also on 40-man roster: Hector Gimenez

Non-roster invitees: JD Closser, Damaso Espino

For more Dodgers spring training news and information, be sure to read True Blue LA.

Photo: Andy Lyons | Getty Images

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2011 Spring Training: Ronald Belisario Fails To Report To Dodgers Camp

Today is the day for Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers and catchers to report to spring training camp at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona. However, they are missing at least one pitcher so far, which has become an annual event. Ronald Belisario is not expected to report to camp today, which would make the third straight year he will have reported to spring training late. "It doesn't sound like Belisario is going to be here today," manager Don Mattingly said.  "We started the process early and did everything we could do."

Belisario has showed up late to spring training in each of his first two seasons as a Dodger, because of visa issues. Last season, Belisario didn't exactly put his best foot forward in his efforts to comply, missing appointments in Venezuela that would have helped him with the arduous process. He showed up 35 days late, and began the season on the restricted list.

Even though Belisario is working on a short leash, as long as he does what is expected of him to get his visa, his lateness (as long as it isn't extended) won't be held against him. But lest we count our chickens before they are hatched, it's probably best to consider Belisario a non-entity until he actually shows up to camp.

For more Dodgers spring training news and information, be sure to read True Blue LA.

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2011 Spring Training: Clayton Kershaw Named Dodgers Opening Day Starter

The Dodgers began their spring training journey today, as pitchers and catchers reporting to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona. They got an important, and obvious decision, out of the way on day one, as Don Mattingly named Clayton Kershaw as his opening day starter

The Dodgers open their regular season on Thursday, March 31 at Dodger Stadium against the Giants. Kershaw will be on the mound to start the game, in a spot he probably should have been in last season (he did start the home opener in 2010, but Vicente Padilla started opening day in Pittsburgh), likely against Tim Lincecum, in a great matchup. Last year, the Dodgers didn't announce their opening day starter until March 25, a cool 11 days before the season started. Today, there are 43 days before opening day.

At 23 years, 12 days old on March 31, Kershaw would be the fifth youngest opening day starter in Los Angeles Dodgers history.

In other opening day news, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported that Hiroki Kuroda "is slated to start on opening day of the Cactus League," but it is unsure which game. The Dodgers have two split squad games on February 26, one in Tempe against the Angels and one in Scottsdale against the Giants, with both games starting at 12:05 p.m.

For more Dodgers spring training news and information, be sure to read True Blue LA.

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Spring Training 2011: Dodgers Pitching Preview

The Los Angeles Dodgers begin their 2011 spring training today, as pitchers and catchers will be streaming into Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona. Pitching is expected to be the strength of this year's Dodgers, who look to rebound from an 80-82 campaign last season. The Dodgers began their offseason with Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley as the only two established starting pitchers on the staff, but general manager Ned Colletti signed returning free agents Hiroki Kuroda and Ted Lilly, and added Jon Garland, who was a Dodger for a month in 2009.

In addition, Colletti also re-signed Vicente Padilla to an incentive-laden deal, although Padilla is expected to begin the season out of the bullpen. Padilla has a $2 million base salary, plus up to $6.8 million in performance bonuses as a reliever or up to $9 million in bonuses as a starter. Whatever his role, Padilla gives the Dodgers remarkable depth.

With the rotation pretty much set heading into spring, a rarity this time of year, the fight for jobs in spring training really comes down to the final few bullpen spots. Here is the likely pitching depth chart for the Dodgers:

Starters

  • Clayton Kershaw
  • Chad Billingsley
  • Hiroki Kuroda
  • Ted Lilly
  • Jon Garland

Bullpen

Both Belisario and Hawksworth are out of options, so they figure to be given every shot to earn a roster spot. Belisario has reported late in each of his two spring trainings with the Dodgers with visa issues, but is expected to arrive on time from Venezuela this year. Kenley Jansen was converted from catcher to pitcher in July 2009, and in less than a year he made his way to the majors. In 27 innings with the Dodgers, Jansen gave up a scant two runs, walking 15 and striking out 41, but he has options and is a candidate to begin the year in the minors should the Dodgers decide to carry a second left-handed pitcher in the bullpen behind Kuo.

Scott Elbert, who is on the 40-man roster, and Ron Mahay, who was signed to a minor-league deal, will likely battle it out for one spot in the bullpen. Others on the short list of bullpen candidates for the Dodgers include Ramon Troncoso, Travis Schlichting, and Jon Link, although Link is being converted to a starter.

The Dodgers have 30 pitchers in big league camp, including nine non-roster invitees. Here are the other pitchers in camp not mentioned above:

On 40-man roster: John Ely, Javy Guerra, Carlos Monasterios, Luis Vasquez

NRIs: Roman Colon, Lance Cormier, Rubby De La Rosa, Wilkin De La Rosa (lhp), Dana Eveland, Jon Huber, Mike MacDougal, Tim Redding, Oscar Villarreal.

The first workout for Dodgers pitchers and catchers will be held Thursday at Camelback Ranch.

For more Dodgers spring training news and information, be sure to read True Blue LA.

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Spring Training 2011: Dodgers Pitchers & Catchers Report Today

The four finest words of the offseason are here, as pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch today in Glendale, Arizona for the Los Angeles Dodgers. This is the third season the Dodgers have held spring training in Arizona, after moving from their longtime Dodgertown home in 2009. Today is simply reporting day, which is mostly procedural -- players checking in, taking physicals, and the like. The first workout for pitchers and catchers will be held on Thursday.

Here are important dates to remember for the Dodgers this spring:

  • Today: pitchers and catchers report
  • Thursday: pitchers and catchers first workout
  • Monday: position players report
  • Tuesday: first full-squad workout
  • February 23: minor league early camp begins
  • February 26: first spring training games: Dodgers have split squad games in Tempe against Angels, and in Scottsdale against Giants
  • February 27: first game at Camelback Ranch, against the Angels (on Prime Ticket)
  • March 3: pitchers and catchers to report to minor league camp
  • March 5: minor league pitchers and catchers first workout
  • March 9: minor league position players report
  • March 11: first full-squad minor league workout

The Dodgers play 33 Cactus League games in 30 days, beginning on February 26. They play a total of 17 games at Camelback Ranch, including 15 home games (and two games against the Chicago White Sox, who are their co-tenants). The Dodgers end their spring with three games in Southern California, playing the Mariners and Angels at Dodger Stadium, with a game in Anaheim against the Angels in between.

For more Dodgers spring training news and information, be sure to read True Blue LA.

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