LACE ‘EM UP: The Dodgers opened their sixth Spring Training at Camelback Ranch – Glendale today with 32 pitchers (seven non-roster) and seven catchers (four non-roster) working out for the first time. The club will open their Spring Training schedule on Wednesday, February 26 against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Talking Stick, with their first home game the following day, also against the D-backs in Glendale. The Dodgers will play a total of 11 games at Camelback Ranch this year on three Spring Training weekends.
BATTERY POWERED: Pitching has traditionally been a strength of the Dodger organization and last season was no different as the Dodgers ranked second in the Majors with a 3.25 team ERA and established a franchise record with 1,292 strikeouts. Today, half of the Dodgers’ 2014 pitching staff threw their first official bullpens of the spring, including the National League’s reigning Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw, along with new acquisitions and former All-Stars Dan Haren and Chris Perez. In addition, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brian Wilson, J.P. Howell, Javy Guerra, Seth Rosin, Jose Dominguez and Matt Magill and non-roster invitees Ross Stripling, Chris Reed, Daniel Moskos, Sam Demel tossed their first ‘pens of the new season this morning.
* Haren, a three-time All-Star (2007-09), joins the Dodgers after going 10-14 with a 4.67 ERA in 31 games (30 starts) for Washington last year. The 11-year MLB veteran was one of the game’s top pitchers from July 27 through the conclusion of the 2013 season, sporting a 6-3 record with a 3.14 ERA (25 ER/71.2 IP) and holding opponents to a .224 batting average, which was the sixth-best mark in the NL during that span (min. 70.0 IP).
* Perez, an American League All-Star in 2011 and 2012, joins the Dodgers after spending the last five seasons with the Indians. Last year, the 28-year-old went 5-3 and saved 25 games in 30 chances (11th, AL) for Cleveland. His season ERA of 4.33 was inflated by four outings in which he gave up 15 runs in 2.1 innings and without those contests, Perez would have posted a 1.92 ERA in 50 games (51.2 innings).
AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE: This year, an early report date means an early exit from Arizona as the Dodgers will depart the Valley of the Sun on March 16 for Sydney, Australia. Once Down Under, Los Angeles will battle the D-backs on March 22-23 in Major League Baseball’s Opening Series, which will mark MLB’s first regular season games ever to be staged in Australia. The Dodgers will return stateside and play three exhibitions against the Angels in the Freeway Series before opening the “North American” portion of their schedule on March 30 at San Diego on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
ON THE DOTTED LINE: Yesterday, the Dodgers boosted their starting rotation depth with the signing of left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm to a one-year contract. Maholm (pronounced, muh-HAHL-uhm) was at the club’s facility for a physical yesterday and donned Dodger blue for the first time today at the team’s workout. The 31-year-old spent the 2013 season with the Braves, going 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA in 26 starts as he reached double-digit victories for the second consecutive season. During the course of his career, the nine-year MLB veteran has been especially tough against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .225/.287/.318 slashline.
* In a corresponding move, the Dodgers placed left-hander Scott Elbert on the 60-day disabled list.
NEW FACES: This year, the Dodgers will have a few new faces on the medical side as the club welcomes Steve Smith and Brian Stoneberg to the Major League staff. In his third year in the organization, Stoneberg will join Brandon McDaniel as a Major League strength and conditioning coach after serving as the club’s minor league strength and conditioning coordinator in 2012-13. Smith will also enter his third season with the organization and will join the big league staff as the physical therapist after serving as the club’s medical/rehabilitation coordinator for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
ALL DODGERS, ALL THE TIME: Also among the new faces at Camelback Ranch are Marina Mackrow and Dave Strumpf from SportsNet LA, the Dodgers’ new 24/7 television home, who are gathering content for a new behind-the-scenes show on the network, Dodgers: Backstage. SportsNet LA, which launches on February 25, will televise all of this year’s Dodger Cactus League games, with the exception of two split-squad games, giving fans more Spring Training coverage than ever before. In addition to airing games during Spring Training, SportsNet LA will also air a nightly show, “Access SportsNet: Dodgers,” at 7:00 p.m. PT.