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Entries in Los Angeles Dodgers (49)


Ortiz layoff cause big worry plus more

"We’ll get to our opinion on David Ortiz in a minute, but first, the facts:

• Ortiz injured his Achilles on July 16 while rounding the bases on an Adrian Gonzalez home run.

• He played once thereafter, but reinjured the same foot while going 2-for-4 on Aug. 24.

• Until last week, he hadn’t been able to sprint for six months.

• He tried to run the bases yesterday, but decided against it because of soreness. He’ll try again this morning."


Trout takes high road

"To all of Mike Trout's exceptional talents, add this one: political correctness.

A day after Trout's agent fired off a missive in which he said the Angels star was disappointed not only at his contract but at being moved from center field to left, Trout addressed the situation with the careful words of a politician.

"I'm a center fielder, obviously," Trout said Sunday. "My main position is center field, but if you're an outfielder, you should be able to play all three. I think it's going to help me get reads off the bat. It's going to be a fun adjustment for me."

Asked to characterize his feelings on the move, Trout would not bite at the words "angry" or "disappointed."

"I'm just happy to be in the lineup," he said."


Adrian Beltre makes spring debut

 Adrian Beltre made his spring debut Monday and finished 1-for-3 with a double in the Rangers' 5-4 victory the San Diego Padres.

"I didn't want to make two outs but I feel okay," Beltre said. "Better than I thought."

Beltre reached on a two-base fielding error in his second at-bat and grounded out to short in his final at-bat before leaving the game in the fifth inning. He said he hopes to return to the Rangers lineup when they play the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.

"Everything went well," manager Ron Washington said. "I think everyone knows Adrian is pretty good, so nothing he does out there at third base surprises me. He looked ready to play."


R.A Dickey to start vs Mexico

"Team USA gathered on Monday at Salt River Fields for its first practice in anticipation of the World Baseball Classic opener on Friday.

And manager Joe Torre said his starting pitching is aligned for the three Pool D games at Chase Field, with Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey tabbed to face rival Mexico on Friday at Chase Field (9 p.m. ET, MLB Network and ESPN Deportes). It's the third edition of the Classic, and the U.S. is trying to win it for the first time. Japan was the victor in 2006 and '09.

Later, after the media conference, Torre acknowledged that Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong is slated to start Saturday night against Italy, with Rangers left-hander Derek Holland on the mound Sunday vs. Canada and its bevy of left-hander hitters. Nationals lefty Ross Detwiler is also available to face the Canadians. Torre said Gio Gonzalez, another Nationals left-hander, will be not be available this weekend."


Furcal to be examined

"The next time the Cardinals take the field, Rafael Furcal won’t be with them.

After an off-day Tuesday, the Cardinals will resume Grapefruit League play on Wednesday but Furcal is expected to be getting a second opinion on his ailing right elbow that day.

“We’ll probably have him see Dr. (James) Andrews on Wednesday,” said Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak on Monday evening. Andrews, a noted orthopedist, has offices both in Pensacola, Fla., and in Birmingham, Ala., so the site of Furcal’s visit is open although it likely will be Pensacola. Mozeliak said he had worked out most the details with Furcal’s agent, Paul Kinzer."


Garza could miss first month of season

"Chicago Cubs right-hander Matt Garza experienced tightness in his side while rehabbing and will start the season on the disabled list, manager Dale Sveum said Sunday.

“It’s a minor setback that (he) could wind up missing two weeks to a month," he said. “Now you’re looking at him getting two (Cactus League) starts at the most.”

Garza wasn't too upset, after saying this week he did not plan to rush back just be ready for opening week."


Kemp says at bat timing "weird"

"Matt Kemp almost had it.

In his fourth at-bat of spring training, Kemp worked deep into the count against Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber, saw a ball he liked and sent it screaming toward the gap in right-center field.

Roughly 400 feet from home plate, the ball fell into the glove of center fielder Michael Bourn.

It was the best at-bat of the spring for Kemp, who also struck out and grounded out in three plate appearances Sunday.

"My timing's a little weird," he said. "Every at-bat's a step forward."




Greinke, Kershaw Get Ks in Different Ways

Now that Zack Greinke has joined the Dodgers, signing the richest contract in history for a right-handed starting pitcher, he'll team up with another ace who may well set the money record for southpaws in Clayton Kershaw. They give L.A. a pair of elite strikeout artists, as Greinke ranks 14th in K/9 among starters over the past three seasons and Kershaw places fifth. But they rack up those Ks in far different ways. Greinke lets batters get themselves out on pitches off the plate, while Kershaw challenges them to touch his sinister stuff.

Here's a look at where Greinke and Kershaw got their strikeouts during the 2012 season:

Location of Greinke's strikeouts, 2012

Greinke goes out of the zone when he's looking for a strikeout, throwing just 37% of his pitches over the plate with two strikes. That's well below the 41.4% MLB average for starters in two-strike counts. Going out of the zone so often, Greinke got about 57% of his strikeouts on chase pitches, compared to the 54.5% average for starters. In fact, the only starter to register more Ks on out-of-zone pitches last year was Felix Hernandez.

Location of Kershaw's strikeouts, 2012

By contrast, Kershaw's approach can be summed up as: "Here it is, I dare you to hit it." He placed 43.2% of his two-strike pitches within the strike zone. While Greinke induced lots of strikeouts on chase pitches, Kershaw got less than half of his Ks (49.3%) on out-of-zone offerings. Kershaw had the fourth-most strikeouts on in-zone pitches last year, trailing just R.A. Dickey, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Kershaw is more confrontational than Greinke when it comes to throwing inside, too: About 47% of the lefty's Ks came on inner-half pitches, compared to 28% for Greinke (39.5% average for starters).

According to Baseball-Reference, the only Dodgers duos to register 200+ Ks in the same season are Stan Williams and Sandy Koufax (1961), Koufax and Don Drysdale (1962-65), Koufax and Don Sutton (1966), Sutton and Bill Singer (1969), and Kevin Brown and Chan Ho Park (2000). With Greinke going away and off the plate and Kershaw bullying hitters with inside, in-zone pitches, look for another pair to be added to that club in 2013.


Dodgers Acquire Free Swingin' HanRam

Miami Marlins 3B Hanley Ramirez has been dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers with RP Randy Choate for the package of SP Nathan Eovaldi and prospect SP Scott McGough. Hanley has had his fair share of problems at the dish thus far, posting a measly .246 average to this point in the season. Here we will look at his numbers over each month of the season.


A slow start to the season for the Marlins former franchise shortstop (pushed to third by the addition of Jose Reyes) created some doubt as to whether he could handle his position switch and still hit effectively. The power was still there as he hit four centerfield home runs and knocked in 13 RBI, but his strikeout rate was up as he only managed 17 hits in 22 games. He was also cold against left handed pitching, getting only three hits the whole month (though two were doubles); his hot zone against left handers is shown below.



Ramirez turned up the heat in May, tearing the cover off the ball. He truly showcased why he was such a hot commodity and a middle of the order presence. He hit for a .322 batting average, .525 slugging percentage, as 15 of 38 hits went for extra bases. The strikeout rate remained high, but knocking in twenty runs and using the whole field makes a team less wary about strike outs. Below is a chart of the locations of Hanley's hits in May. Hanley showcased his pull field power, shifting the location of his home runs from center to left.



June was another month long slump for Hanley, as he couldn't keep up the pace from May. His average and extra base hits fell, and his strikeout percentage rose. One good stat from this month was his strikeout to walk ratio, which dipped below 2:1 in a month for the first time this season. Strangely enough, it was right handed pitching that left Ramirez scratching his head this time. He struck out 16 of 18 times versus righties and only hit .194 (while hitting .300 versus lefties). Hanley versus right handed pitching is shown below.




Hanley has gotten even worse since June, dealing with a lacerated finger that has kept him out of games, and seeming all-around lost at the plate. He has managed less hits than strike outs, which is a really depressing number for a major league hitter. The strangest thing is, Hanley is on pace to match his average home run out put at 4 per month; at least he has been consistent in that respect. July has been quite a mystery for Hanley, considering that there was a pattern to his success, or lack thereof in previous months: his swing and miss rate.

   April : 21.4% - disappointing month

   May : 15.4% - best month of the season

   June : 18.8% - back to the drawing board

   July : 17.8 % - this one is the anomaly, as he seems to be having a worse month than June but has cut down on his swing and miss rate, increasing contact. This should lead us elsewhere to see a pattern: BABIP.

   April : .228

   May : .351

   June : .250

   July : .179 (equal to average this month)

As you can see, though Hanley increased his contact rate, he is not getting any help in the field, leading to a decreased average. Perhaps a change of scenery, and some west coast parks will help him break out of his slump; the Dodgers can only hope that they are getting the May version of HanRam as opposed to the other months so far.


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