Preston Mattingly’s journey from Dodger to college basketball player

Photo courtesy of Lamar University

Photo courtesy of Lamar University

By Cary Osborne

The Lamar University basketball team opens up its season on November 14 in Dallas at Southern Methodist University. There’s a sophomore shooting guard on the Cardinal team who will likely check into the game at some point. Now 27 years old, the man who was once a top prep player in the state of Indiana has chosen basketball again.

Baseball chose the former Central High of Evansville two-sport star. With a last name Mattingly, it’s not surprising that it did. But baseball isn’t always kind, even to its own.

Fortunately for Preston Mattingly, basketball took him back.

Mattingly, the son of Dodger manager Don Mattingly and a 2006 first-round pick of the Dodgers, is in his second season playing NCAA Division I basketball for the Lamar Cardinal in Beaumont, Texas.

The 27-year-old’s final day on a baseball field was in Spring Training camp in 2012 with the New York Yankees, and he hasn’t looked back on the game. He said he spent time with his father this summer hanging around Dodger Stadium. But now he is reunited with the game he loved the most as a youth.

“To be honest, I don’t miss it at all,” Mattingly said of baseball. “I miss hanging out with the guys, but I don’t miss going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and struggling as bad as I did. I love baseball, but I had some rough years, and I’m really hard on myself.”

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Humble Fresno hero receives gift from Tommy Lasorda on Jimmy Kimmel Live

By Cary Osborne

He’s being called a humble hero for rescuing a 73-year-old man from a house fire in Fresno last Saturday. A video of 49-year-old Tom Artiaga rescuing Robert Wells has gone viral this week. Artiaga, wearing a Dodger cap, is seen carrying Wells over his shoulder, smoke billowing from the home.

“I didn’t want the glory,” he told CNN. “I don’t want it.”

Artiaga appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show on Thursday night and was surprised by Tommy Lasorda, who came with a proclamation and a gift for the Dodger fan.

At the 4:13 mark of the video, you’re likely to get a lump in your throat.

Jimmy Sheckard, the Yasiel Puig of 1901 (sort of, but just enough to make the headline work)

SheckardBy Jon Weisman

You might have heard Jimmy Sheckard’s name once or twice this summer, and even so, if you’re a Dodger fan under the age of 120, it was quite possibly the first time you ever heard it.

Largely forgotten among Brooklyn stars of the past, Sheckard hit three triples for the Superbas in one game on Opening Day 1901 at age 22, a feat that went unmatched until 23-year-old Yasiel Puig did so against the Giants on July 25.

That 1901 season was Sheckard’s best in a career that had more than a few highlights. Sheckard led the National League with 19 triples and a .534 slugging percentage, while finishing second in home runs (11) and total bases (296), third in batting average (.354) and OPS (.944), tied for third in RBI (104), fifth in runs (116), sixth in on-base percentage (.409) and stolen bases (35), seventh in doubles (29). In September, Sheckard also became the only player ever to hit inside-the-park grand slams in consecutive games.

Sheckard also had a run-in with an ump that surpasses any mess Puig has gotten into, according to Baseball Library.com:
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Gold Glove finalist Uribe best pick to win prize

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Arizona DiamondbacksBy Jon Weisman

This should be the year of the Uribear.

Adrian Gonzalez, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Juan Uribe and Zack were named finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, with winners to be announced November 4.

Each position has three finalists. Greinke and Kershaw are up against Adam Wainwright of St. Louis for the NL pitcher Gold Glove. Gonzalez is against Adam LaRoche of Washington and Justin Morneau of Colorado, while Uribe has competition from Nolan Arenado of the Rockies and Pablo Sandoval of San Francisco.

Going strictly by advanced stats, Uribe would be the Dodgers’ top candidate. Despite a couple of injury issues this year, Uribe dominated NL third basemen statistically. (Click chart to enlarge.)

3B

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Double dose of Jackie Robinson Day celebrations in 2015

Magic Johnson, Matt Kemp and Rachel Robinson at Dodger Stadium on April 15, 2013. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Magic Johnson, Matt Kemp and Rachel Robinson at Dodger Stadium on April 15, 2013.
(Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

A scheduling quirk put the Dodgers on the road for Jackie Robinson Day earlier this year, but next April 15, Dodger Stadium will be back in the familiar position of hosting the celebration of No. 42.

That night, the Dodgers will be taking on the Seattle Mariners, not to mention second baseman Robinson Cano, who was named after the Dodger legend.

In addition, Historic Dodgertown at Vero Beach will host the second annual Jackie Robinson Celebration Game, between the Florida State League’s St. Lucie Mets and Brevard County Manatees.

— Jon Weisman

Infield prospect Darnell Sweeney continues to develop

By Cary Osborne

In discussions with Dodger vice president of amateur scouting Logan White and former vice president of player development De Jon Watson this month, I asked them to give their thoughts on guys who they felt opened some eyes in 2014.

One name that both of them mentioned was Darnell Sweeney.

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Latest honor for Kershaw: Sporting News Player of the Year

Two days after Baseball America named him 2014 Player of the Year, Clayton Kershaw has received the same honor from the Sporting News.

In a close vote from more then 220 MLB players, Kershaw edged out the Angels’ Mike Trout, 76 to 73.

— Jon Weisman

Dan Haren undergoes arthroscopic surgery, expected back for Spring Training

Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

Dodger right-hander Dan Haren underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder Wednesday morning in a procedure performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. The 30-minute procedure was to clean out bursitis and the AC joint. He will start his rehab in about one week and is expected to be ready for competition at the start of Spring Training.

The Monterey Park native and 12-year Major League veteran started 32 games in 2014, his first with the Dodgers, and had a 4.02 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 186 innings.

From August 6 to September 27 — his final 10 starts of the season, the 34-year-old had a 2.43 ERA, opposing batters hit .191 against him and he struck out 50 batters to just eight walks in 59 1/3 innings. His 0.83 WHIP in that timespan was tops on the Dodgers and fifth-best in the Majors.

How Dee Gordon made things shake in 2014

Despite a second-half decline in walks, Dee Gordon finished 2014 with career highs in on-base percentage and OPS, and a career low in pitches chased outside the strike zone. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Gordon, Kershaw named Sporting News NL All-Stars

Not only did Dodger starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw make the Sporting News’ National League All-Star team, but second baseman Dee Gordon did as well.

Gordon topped runners-up Neil Walker of the Pirates, Daniel Murphy of the Mets and Chase Utley of the Phillies in a vote by baseball executives. Kershaw was a unanimous choice.

By Cary Osborne

Last year in October, Dee Gordon was on the Dodgers’ postseason roster, but practically in name only. He played in two games, both as a pinch-runner. Gordon was in the playoffs because he was fast — and only because he was fast.

This year, Gordon was still fast, but he also became much, much more. But as Gordon will tell you, that development, however ironically, was a long, slow process.

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Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp is less than three weeks away

Chan Ho Park throwing the first pitch at Dodger Stadium in May. (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Chan Ho Park throwing the first pitch at Dodger Stadium in May. (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Chan Ho Park, Jerry Reuss and Ken Landreaux have joined the team of Dodger legends serving as instructors at the 53rd Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, from November 9-15.

Park, Reuss and Landreaux will join such previously announced instructors as Ron Cey, Tommy Davis, Steve Garvey, Mickey Hatcher, Rick Monday, Maury Wills and Steve Yeager. Tommy Lasorda and former National League umpire Bruce Froemming are also set to be guest instructors. Former Dodger scout Guy Wellman has returned as camp coordinator, a position he has held dating back to 1983.

“We are looking forward to providing a unique experience for those campers in attendance in November,” said Historic Dodgertown chairman and former Dodger owner Peter O’Malley. “With our latest additions of popular Dodgers Chan Ho Park, Jerry Reuss and Ken Landreaux, this will only enhance the camaraderie, storytelling and instruction for the participants, making this camp the best one ever. It is advisable for those who are considering signing up to do so now.”

Why sign up? Well, read on … (more…)

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