Yasiel Puig’s 2014 travel adventures

@puigyasiel

@puigyasiel

By Cary Osborne

If you are one of the 371,000 followers of Yasiel Puig on Instagram (@puigyasiel), you’ve been included in his adventures. It’s clear from viewing his photos that Puig makes the most of his travels — in season and out. It’s also clear that the Cuban-born star has affection for and appreciation of the United States and the opportunities he has.

Above is a sample of some of his 2014 experiences.

Back in June, I asked him about his love of this country and using Instagram. This is what he said:

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Joc Pederson’s journey before the arrival

Photo by Jon SooHoo/ ©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2014

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

Joc Pederson will plant his feet in Los Angeles. And likely soon. But one of baseball’s top prospects will need some breathing room.

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Brian Wilson released as turnover continues

By Jon Weisman

With the official release of Brian Wilson today, preceded by recent acquisition Ryan Lavarnway being claimed on waivers by the Cubs and Kyle (that’s Kyle) Jensen being designated for assignment, the Dodger 40-man roster is back at, well, 40. But it’s not your slightly older sibling’s 40.

Let’s catch up on who’s new:

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Jimmy Rollins zips from red to blue


By Jon Weisman

Baseball forces you to make some interesting adjustments. Jimmy Rollins’ biggest might not be switching from Phillies red to Dodger blue, but letting go of any residual memories of green and gold.

Rollins grew up in Oakland and greeted a conference-call question about his childhood allegiance today with a laughing “Are you trying to rub 1988 in my face or something?”

On the other hand, once he resolved to let go of his 18-year association with the Phillies organization, the Dodgers were his first choice for a new team.

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Quotebook: Andrew Friedman on the Dodgers’ offseason moves

Los Angeles Dodgers Andrew Friedman Press Conference

Andrew Friedman became Dodger president of baseball operations in October. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

 

By Cary Osborne

After Howie Kendrick’s introductory press conference today, Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman spoke with reporters on a conference call about the moves the Dodgers have made this offseason. Here’s what he had to say …

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Hello, Howie Kendrick (and sons)

Howie Kendrick with his sons Tyson and Owen on Friday at Dodger Stadium.

Howie Kendrick with his sons Tyson and Owen on Friday at Dodger Stadium.

For more photos from today’s press conference, visit LA Photog Blog.

By Cary Osborne

It might have started as Howie Kendrick’s morning, but it was quickly taken over by his two children — 5-year-old Owen and 3-year-old Tyson.

The youngsters roamed the Dodger Stadium interview room like two kids exploring a playroom for the first time at Kendrick’s introductory press conference. Fittingly, it was their father’s first opportunity to truly explore Dodger Stadium. He has played at Dodger Stadium many times before as an Angel — 33 games in fact. But on Friday he got his first proper tour as a Dodger.

“Great organization,” Kendrick said. “I’ve played against this organization for a long time. It’s definitely great to be a part of the history the Dodgers have, and hopefully we can make some more history.”

That’s the point — making history. And Kendrick was just one of the flurry of moves the Dodgers have made in the last couple of weeks to try and win the World Series.

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Bye to the Bison, hi to the Jimmy: Digesting the Dodger transformation

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Matt Kemp heads toward first after his 185th home run (including postseason) in a Dodger uniform, October 4 against St. Louis. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

A player who won our hearts leaves. A player who put a knife in our hearts arrives.

Dodger fans naturally are having emotional reactions to the departure of Matt Kemp to San Diego or the arrival of Jimmy Rollins from Philadelphia, the capper to the past week’s massive talent migration in and out of Chavez Ravine.

But don’t count out the scoreboard.

Baseball has shown, time and again, that nothing eases the whiplash of losing a beloved player or acquiring a formal rival the way wins do. That includes both winning on the field, and winning the trades themselves.

You loved watching Kemp play (though some abandoned ship when the going got tough). I loved watching Kemp play. And I was so invested — deeply invested. Players come and go — that’s been baseball reality for me since the first favorite I lost, Bill Buckner to Chicago for Rick Monday. Then the older you get, the more you have to shake and wake yourself. “Wasn’t this guy just 21 years old? Didn’t he just get called up?

Bison

Matt Kemp became “The Bison” thanks to Dodger Thoughts (click above to enlarge), and although his embrace of the nickname was ambivalent, you don’t sever those ties without a thought.

But if the Dodgers are a better team than they were a week ago, the trade will be worth it. And there’s great reason to think that they are, that the Dodgers took a comeback season from a player and turned it into something even more. The talent received in exchange for Kemp is anything but a dismissal of his value.

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Santa Fernando makes a surprise visit

Fernando Valenzuela visits Children's Hospital Los Angeles

For more photo highlights, visit LA Photog Blog.

Fernando Valenzuela visits Children's Hospital Los AngelesBy Yvonne Carrasco

Dodger legend and broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela stopped by Children’s Hospital Los Angeles unannounced today, distributing toys to patients and also taking photos with their families.

“I wanted to visit the kids here at CHLA today because it’s almost Christmas, and I thought they might like Dodger gifts from me,” said Valenzuela. “I like this time of year, because it’s a time where you can do more things for the community.

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Long road from Drew Butera leads to catcher Shawn Zarraga

By Cary Osborne

The Dodgers added some catching depth on Thursday, acquiring 25-year-old minor leaguer Shawn Zarraga from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for infielder/outfielder Matt Long and left-handed pitcher Jarret Martin.

Long was acquired Thursday from the Angels on Thursday as the player to be named later in the December 9 Drew Butera deal.

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Seasons: Mike Piazza’s 1997 — all other catchers take a backseat

MIKE PIAZZA SCOTT LIVINGSTONE

By Cary Osborne

This marks the fifth in a series of stories where we look back in depth on some of the greatest individual seasons in Dodger history.

The Dodgers just couldn’t catch the Giants in the end. So on September 28, 1997, being three games behind San Francisco on the last day of the season, the Dodgers’ finale in Colorado was a relaxed one. In the bottom of the third inning, Dodger manager Bill Russell made a double switch and sent in rookie Henry Blanco to replace Eric Karros at first base.

Karros slapped fives in the dugout, then headed into the clubhouse and started changing his clothes. He put on a cap and a T-shirt and some pants and headed for the seats at Coors Field. He found an empty one in left-center field. Karros was now watching the game as a fan.

Karros spent the entire season with the best seat in the house. He batted cleanup. Mike Piazza batted third. From the on-deck circle, Karros witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime season for a Major League catcher. Now he truly was witnessing it the way others did in 1997.

“In the fifth inning I believe it was, he hit home run No. 40, to right center I think,” Karros recalled of that September 28 game. “It was kind of funny. Sitting in the stands out here during the game I’ve just been playing, and he hits No. 40.”

Karros said he didn’t get up and cheer. He doesn’t remember how he reacted.

“I was probably screaming at him,” Karros said with a laugh.

So were a lot of people — opposing pitchers and managers, non-Dodger fans. Piazza’s 1997 is arguably the greatest offensive season for a catcher in baseball history.

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