YOUR 2013 LOS ANGELES DODGERS: With the first full-squad workout of 2013, the countdown to Opening Day has officially started (hint: 44 days!). The 58 players in camp took part in conditioning exercises, a baserunning tutorial, defensive drills, bunting and a full batting practice. Catcher Eleizer Alfonzo remains the lone player yet to report due to family reasons.
Tomorrow, bright and early (7:00 a.m.), the Dodgers will take part in the club’s annual Photo Day, flashing the pearly whites for photographers from the Associated Press, Baseball Digest, Baseball Magazine Sha, ESPN the Magazine, Getty Images, KCAL, MLB Photos, MLB.com, Topps, and USA Today.
NOTHING WEEK ABOUT IT: The Dodgers’ Cactus League opener against the White Sox is just one week away and today, Don Mattingly announced that Clayton Kershaw would not only be the starting pitcher when the exhibition season opens next Saturday, but would also be the club’s starter on Opening Day, April 1 vs. San Francisco. Kershaw will become the first Dodger to make three consecutive Opening Day starts since Derek Lowe, 2005-07.
Mattingly also announced that two of the Dodgers’ offseason acquisitions, right-hander Zack Greinke and left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, would both pitch in the club’s second Spring Training contest next Sunday against the White Sox. Greinke, the 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner, will get the start with Ryu entering in relief.
Ryu and Greinke joined Aaron Harang, Brandon League, Ronald Belisario, J.P. Howell, Javy Guerra, Josh Wall, Steve Ames, Peter Moylan, Kevin Gregg, Juan Abreu and Matt Palmer in throwing bullpens today.
NEW IN BLUE: Though both reported a few days ago, Carl Crawford and Skip Schumaker donned the Dodger blue in an official capacity for the first time today:
Crawford, 31, is entering his 12th Major League season with a .292 batting average, 118 home runs and 667 RBI in 1,396 career games with the Rays (2002-10) and Boston (2011-12). The four-time All-Star and former Silver Slugger and Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner leads all active players with 114 triples and ranks third among active players with 432 stolen bases. He’s led the American League in steals on four occasions and has had an 81.8% success rate on stolen base attempts in his career.
Schumaker, 33, was acquired by the Dodgers from St. Louis in a December trade and has a .288 career batting average with 121 doubles, 23 homers and 211 RBI in 810 career games in eight big league seasons with the Cardinals. He has come through in the clutch throughout his career, batting .298 with runners on base, .295 with runners in scoring position and .359 with the bases loaded.
CUBAN MISSILES: Yasiel Puig took his first-ever Spring Training batting practice earlier today, which saw hard-hit line drives and a few towering shots that easily cleared the outfield wall on Camelback Ranch Field 3. Puig, 22, batted .354 with five homers and 15 RBI in 23 combined games with the Rookie-level AZL Dodgers and Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. The Cienfuegos, Cuba native played Winter Ball with Indios de Mayguez and will enter his second season with the Dodgers after signing as a free agent on June 29, 2012.
WE ARE BLESSED: Dodger broadcast partner PRIME TICKET will televise an additional four games this spring at Camelback Ranch – Feb. 25 vs. CHC, Feb. 28 vs. LAA, March 7 vs. Texas and March 18 vs. Arizona. And the good news keeps coming as Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will call all four telecasts. It was previously announced that Scully would call the KCAL 9 games on March 17 vs. MIL and March 26 vs. COL, bringing his grand total to six Cactus League games.
COULD BE LEGENDARY: The Dodgers would like to wish a happy 50th wedding anniversary to Manny Mota and his wife, Margarita! Mota will join fellow Dodger alumni Ron Cey, Tim Leary, Fernando Valenzuela, Maury Wills and Steve Yeager to help celebrate a new season of Cactus League play next weekend at Camelback Ranch – Glendale’s inaugural Legends Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 23-24. Former greats from both the Dodger and White Sox franchises will be on hand to sign autographs and greet fans from 11:30 am-12:30 pm before being introduced in pregame ceremonies for the club’s first Cactus League game at Camelback Ranch – Glendale against the White Sox at 1:05 pm on Saturday, Feb. 23.