Happy 96th birthday, Jackie Robinson

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In case you missed it: Yasiel Puig sets the agenda at City Hall

Dodgers Community CaravanBy Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig was filled with insouciant musings during today’s conclusion of the Dodgers’ Pitching in the Community caravan, and Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com captured it in an entertaining piece. Here’s an excerpt:

… Puig looked strong, but had no idea how much he weighs with 27 days left until the first full-squad workout.

Perhaps somewhere between 255 and 260.

“Whatever weight I come in, it doesn’t matter,” Puig said, citing teammate Juan Uribe as an example by calling him a “gordito,” exaggerating his weight and saying, “He saves us every game at third base.”

Puig also glowed about Astros 5-foot-6 second baseman Jose Altuve, his teammate for an exhibition tournament throughout Japan in November and someone he credited with inspiring him to intensify his workout regimen this offseason.

“I don’t like working out,” Puig said. “It’s like you have to pay me to enter the gym.”

But Puig did, because he wants to steal more bases and he wants to limit the highs and lows of a six-month regular season. …

Jon SooHoo has more photos from the caravan at LA Photog Blog: first stopsecond stopthird stop and fourth stop.

So what else is going on?

  • The 45th annual convention of the Society of American Baseball Research is June 24-28 in Chicago, and if you go, you can catch the Dodgers playing at Wrigley Field June 24-25.
  • Carl Erskine talked about Roy Campanella’s great work behind the plate with Rob Neyer at Fox Sports’ Just a Bit Outside.
  • This headline should get you started: “On World War II vet’s last day, Dodger Tommy Lasorda was his angel,” by Dennis McCarthy for the Daily News.
  • In MLB.com’s overall list of the top 100 prospects in baseball, Corey Seager was seventh, Julio Urias eighth and Joc Pederson 13th. Grant Holmes is 95th. Here’s more from Teddy Cahill of MLB.com.
  • Pederson has gone gluten-free, and not by choice, writes J.P. Hoornstra at the Daily News.
  • Keith Law’s take on the Dodger farm system can be found at ESPN Insider.  After the same first four as MLB.com, the next six are Alex Verdugo, Zach Lee, Darnell Sweeney, Chris Anderson, Jose De Leon and Zach Bird.
  • David Schoenfield of ESPN.com’s Sweet Spot looked back at Baseball America’s top prospects of 2005. Raise a glass for Joel Guzman
  • From official MLB historian John Thorn at Our Game: “Baseball, as with any other course of life, has had its share of death, degradation, and disappointment. For utter horror, however, the story of Marty Bergen, star catcher of the Boston Beaneaters, is unmatched in the annals of the sport.”
  • Some last caravan tidbits …

 

 

2015 slogan: We Love LA

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It was revealed this morning online and makes its full public debut Saturday at FanFest. It’s the Dodgers’ 2015 slogan, “We Love LA.”

“Since 1958, the fans of Southern California have had a love affair with the Dodgers, our broadcasters and Dodger Stadium, and the feeling has been mutual,” said Dodger executive vice president and chief marketing officer Lon Rosen.  “What better way to express our admiration to our fans for their overwhelming support than with this year’s slogan.”

— Jon Weisman

Team Jarrin takes over Spanish radio broadcasts

2008 GOLDEN MIKE AWARDS

AwardBy Jon Weisman

For the first time, Hall of Fame broadcaster Jaime Jarrin and his son Jorge will form the broadcast team for the Dodgers’ Spanish radio broadcasts on KTNQ 1020 AM.

Pepe Yniguez and Fernando Valenzuela will be the Spanish broadcast team for SportsNet LA on television, with Manny Mota contributing on both radio and TV.

On the English-language side, the broadcast teams pick up where they left off, starting with Vin Scully on SportsNet LA for Dodger home games and select road games. Scully will simulcast the first three innings on KLAC 570 AM, with Charley Steiner and Rick Monday taking over on radio in the fourth inning.

For the other games, Steiner, Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra will work TV, with Monday joined by Kevin Kennedy on radio.

This is season No. 66 for Scully with the Dodgers and No. 57 for Jaime Jarrin. Monday is working his 23rd season behind the Dodger mic; Yniguez his 17th, Valenzuela his 13th and Steiner his 11th. Mota is in his sixth season as a Dodger broadcaster and 47th overall with the franchise.

 

Howie Kendrick connects with Wounded Warriors

Howie Kendrick and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Victor Brazfield

Howie Kendrick and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Victor Brazfield

By Cary Osborne

“I actually died,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Victor Brazfield. “I was done. We got hit with an IED. It blew up. I was an air-guard gunner. The concussion, all the pressure, knocked me out. I had no breathing. I had no pulse. Twenty seconds later I came back.”

Those were the types of stories Dodgers heard on Friday at Los Angeles City Hall when they accompanied a group of Wounded Warriors to a lunch on the 27th floor of the L.A. landmark.

photo-2The Dodgers were recognized by the Los Angeles City Council for their community service, and as part of the organization’s 12th annual Pitching in the Community caravan (presented by Bank of America), the Dodgers honored combat-injured service members of the Wounded Warriors Project with gifts and ate lunch with them.

Honoring the military particularly hit home with new Dodger second baseman Howie Kendrick. Kendrick’s mother and father both served in the U.S. Army, and he has uncles and cousins who served in other branches of the military.

“They’re the reason I’m doing what I’m doing right now,” Kendrick said. “Without these guys, where would our freedom be? Our military means everything to our country. I can’t say enough about what those guys have done for us as a country and me as an individual. It’s truly a blessing to be here today and talk about the freedoms we do have.”

Kendrick told a Wounded Warrior that had baseball not worked out for him, he would have likely joined the military.

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Remembering Rocky Bridges, 1927-2015

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By Mark Langill

Former Brooklyn Dodger infielder Everett “Rocky” Bridges passed away on Wednesday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at age 87, nearly seven decades after the former Southern California prep standout parlayed his last nickel into the “deal of a lifetime.”

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A healthy Joe Wieland is eager to move forward with the Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Joe Wieland has already made it back. More than two years after July 2012 Tommy John surgery, the 6-foot-3 righthander pitched in four games for the San Diego Padres this past September, including an 84-pitch start September 24 that gave him his first big-league win.

The kinks, literally and figuratively, have been worked out, and having come to Los Angeles alongside Yasmani Grandal in the de facto three-way trade with the Padres and Philadelphia, Wieland is completely ready to take on 2015 as one of the new members of the Dodger pitching staff.

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Adrian Gonzalez in Mexico City to support youth baseball

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By Yvonne Carrasco

Just days after Dodger first baseman Adrian Gonzalez led a hitting clinic at Garfield High School in East L.A., he arrived in Mexico City to officially kick off the Telmex Adrian Gonzalez baseball league for youngsters ages 14 to 15.

Telmex is a Mexican telecommunications company headquartered in Mexico City that provides telecommunications products and services in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela and other countries in Latin America.

Gonzalez launched the Telmex Adrian Gonzalez baseball league alongside Telmex Foundation director Arturo Elias Ayub. Elias says that last year, approximately 6,000 youngsters participated in Telmex League baseball and predicts the number will increase to more than 10,000 with Gonzalez’s support.

At today’s announcement, Gonzalez and Ayub were also among the 2014 Telmex baseball league champs, a group of youngsters from Mexico City. Gonzalez spoke to the group on the importance of growing baseball in Mexico.

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In case you missed it: Justin Turner and prospects on parade

Los Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Long Beach Rescue Mission

By Jon Weisman

As often as the top Dodger minor leaguers get recognized for their potential, I never get tired of it …

  • Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Darnell Sweeney and Scott Schebler all finished in the top 10 of Carson Cistulli’s admittedly very rough attempt to determine Wins Above Replacement for 2014 minor leaguers at FanGraphs. Bonus: Austin Barnes was 16th.
  • Seager and Urias are in the top 10 of Keith Law’s new prospect rankings at ESPN, with Joc Pederson 28th and Grant Holmes 79th. An excerpt: “Kyle Seager has turned into one of the top 20 players in the majors, but even as good as he is, brother Corey has the potential to be much better.
  • Urias is the No. 1 left-handed pitcher in MLB’s prospect positional rankings, with Pederson the No. 2 outfielder and Seager No. 4 at shortstop.
  • Al Campanis’ many achievements with the Dodgers, before his “Nightline” demise, are reviewed by Mark Armour and Dan Leavitt, who are promoting their book, “In Pursuit of Pennants.” They rank Campanis No. 13 all-time among general managers.
  • Promotions update: Juan Uribe (July 11) and Yasiel Puig (July 19) Bobblehead dates are set. And here’s more:

  • J.P Hoornstra of the Daily News caught up with Justin Turner, who talked about his busy offseason workouts. “I think the key to anything is obviously being on the field and staying healthy,” Turner said. “That was my emphasis this offseason, was to focus on that. Get stronger, get leaner, do some running stuff and prevent any breakdowns.”
  • Here are photo highlights from Tuesday’s caravan stop at Cesar Chavez Elementary School and Wednesday’s activities, featuring Turner.
  • More on video below …

This day in 1988: Second chance at Kirk Gibson

Gibson x 2
By Mark Langill

On this date in 1988, the Dodgers signed free-agent outfielder Kirk Gibson to a three-year contract. The Dodgers wanted to trade third baseman Pedro Guerrero to the Tigers in exchange for Gibson during the 1987 winter meetings, but backed out of the deal when it became apparent Gibson might become part of a “new look” free agent class, which originated from a 1985 grievance by the Players Association that asserted several free agents had their market values affected by collusion on the part of the baseball owners.

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