ALL IN: Today was the second day of workouts for pitchers and catchers at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. Thursday, position players report with the first full-squad workout of 2014 scheduled for Friday.
Many position players have reported to camp early for voluntary workouts, including Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Alex Guerrero, Scott Van Slyke, Nick Buss, Justin Sellers and Mike Baxter. Non-roster invitees Justin Turner and the club’s No. 1 ranked prospect of 2014 according to Baseball America, Joc Pederson, are also here at Camelback Ranch – Glendale in advance of Thursday’s report date.
BACK AT IT: Today marked the second group of pitchers to throw bullpen sessions as Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Jamey Wright, Paul Maholm, Stephen Fife, Brandon League, Chris Withrow, Paco Rodriguez, Yimi Garcia and Pedro Baez threw off the mound on the backfields of Camelback Ranch – Glendale. Also throwing their first ‘pens of the spring were non-roster invitees Red Patterson and Carlos Frias.
Beckett officially reported to Spring Training today after having undergone season-ending surgery on July 10 to remove his right first rib to relieve pressure on his nerves caused by Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. In 2013, Beckett posted a 5.19 ERA in eight starts before being placed on the disabled list. The three-time All-Star and 2003 World Series MVP ranks sixth among active pitchers (min. 1,500 IP) with an average of 8.34 strikeouts per 9.0 innings in his career and ranks 12th in the Majors with 106 wins since the start of the 2005 season.
Billingsley, who also underwent season-ending surgery (Tommy John) on April 24 of last season, continued his rehab by throwing his first official bullpen of the spring today. Billingsley, the longest-tenured Dodger, made two starts before eventually being lost for the season in 2013, failing to post a double-digit win total for the first time since 2006.
DO IT FOR THE KIDS: Outfielder Matt Kemp joined President Bill Clinton, Los Angeles Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant and other sports luminaries in a powerful conversation about the role of sports in the lives of children and the health of the nation through a town hall event on the topic, “Kids and Sports.” The event, which was originally taped two weeks ago in La Quinta, CA, was moderated by Mike Greenberg of ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike, and aired last night on ESPN2.
ROME: Clayton Kershaw joined Jim Rome (via satellite) today for a sit-down interview that will air on Showtime on Wednesday, February 12 at 9:00 p.m. EST. Other guests on Wednesday’s episode include Dodger Partner Peter Guber, in addition to comedian Kevin Hart, Portland Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Syracuse Men’s Basketball Head Coach Jim Boeheim.
AMATEUR HOUR: College baseball takes center stage at Camelback Ranch-Glendale this weekend when Seth Rosin’s Minnesota Golden Gophers face Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti’s alma mater, the Northern Illinois Huskies, in a three-game series to open their 2014 seasons. The Gophers and Huskies will meet in the Camelback Ranch main stadium at 1:00 p.m. Friday-Sunday, February 14-16. Fans are invited to arrive after 9:00 a.m. to watch the Dodgers and White Sox morning workouts and stay for bonus college baseball in the afternoon. Admission is free and food and beverages will be available for purchase during workouts and the college games.
ALL DODGERS, ALL THE TIME: We’re just 15 days away from 24-hour coverage of the Dodgers, as SportsNet LA launches on February 25 and 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.
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.
--compliments of the Dodgers PR Department