In case you missed it: Dodgers continue pitching in

Los Angeles Dodgers Caravan at Hollenbeck Middle School

By Jon Weisman

On Day 2 of the Dodgers’ Pitching in the Community caravan (presented by Bank of America) today, Dodger alumni including Al Downing, Lee Lacy (pictured), Tim Leary and Dennis Powell visited Hollenbeck Middle School for a project with City Year, which “works to bridge the gap in high-poverty communities between the support that students actually need and what their schools are designed and resourced to provide.”

Next, the caravan visited the After-School All-Stars at Cesar Chavez Elementary, led by Al Ferrara, Matt Luke Luke, Powell, Dodger employees and Bank of America volunteers. After-School All-Stars Los Angeles “educates, enlightens and inspires young people by providing dynamic and exciting opportunities for success, while cultivating self-esteem, leadership and respect to help build healthier communities.”

For more photos from today, visit LA Photog Blog.

Meanwhile …

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New uniform numbers for the 40-man roster

Howie Kendrick and family at their introductory press conference in December. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Howie Kendrick and family meet the press in December. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Hi. Here are the uniform numbers for the offseason additions to the 40-man roster:

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In case you missed it: 2015 Dodger Caravan begins

By Jon Weisman

Despite this afternoon’s rain, the 2015 Pitching in the Community Caravan, presented by Bank of America, got off to a happy start today with a baseball skills clinic featuring Dodger first baseman Adrian Gonzalez at Garfield High School.

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Video: Scully, Koufax and Hendley honored

By Jon Weisman

“On a Thursday night at Dodger Stadium, the crafts of pitching and broadcasting came as close to perfection as we’ll ever see,” said Tom Verducci at Saturday’s Baseball Writers Association of America dinner as he introduced the Willie, Mickey & the Duke Award, going to the Cubs’ Bob Hendley and the Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax and Vin Scully in recognizing the historical significance of the September 9, 1965 night that Scully broadcast Koufax’s perfect game beating Hendley’s one-hitter.

“The broadcast of the game, we’ve heard it a lot – at least I have,” Koufax said, “and Vinny was so special, it’s probably more exciting listening to him than it was doing it that night.”

Hendley, who joined Koufax in accepting the award, noted that Saturday was the first time he had actually met Koufax. He also charmingly pointed out that five days after the perfect game, he outdueled Koufax with a four-hitter in a 2-1 victory, meaning that in the two games combined, each pitcher allowed exactly two runs on five hits.

But Hendley could not have been more gracious to Scully or Koufax.

“If you get beat, get beat by class, get beat by the best,” Hendley said. “And he is the best, and he is class.”

Video: Koufax presents Kershaw with Cy Young, MVP Awards

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 10.55.23 AMBy Jon Weisman

Quite a weekend for Clayton Kershaw: One day after his first child was born, Sandy Koufax presented him with the 2014 National League Cy Young and MVP Awards at the 2015 Baseball Writers Association of America dinner in New York.

“If the writers still have their notes from last year, change 25 years of age to 26, change two Cy Youngs to three, add one MVP and you’re done,” Koufax said.

Kershaw’s speech was filled with thanks to Dodger teammates and staff, kicked off by gratitude to Koufax …

“Sandy, I don’t know where to start,” Kershaw said. “It’s tough for me to put into words how honored I am that you would even want to be here tonight.”

… a tearful acknowledgment of his wife, Ellen.

“She’s makes it all worth it,” he said.”

… and even a nod to the St. Louis Cardinals.

“Thank you for reminding me that you’re never as good as you think you are,” Kershaw said.

The Kershaws welcome their baby, as we say farewell to Mr. Cub

Baby

By Jon Weisman

Tonight, we offer the happy news of the birth of the first child of Clayton and Ellen Kershaw. Cali Ann Kershaw was born today, and she and her parents are all doing great.

Cali Ann was born at 5:43 p.m. CT. She is 6 pounds, 13 ounces and 20 inches long.

Our hearts are full but also heavy, as we digest the news of the passing today of Mr. Cub, the legendary Ernie Banks. The entire baseball community, and especially the Cubs family, is in mourning, and I can’t help but think of my Dad, a Cubs fan for more than seven decades, in this moment.

“Ernie Banks was a great, great player,” Tommy Lasorda said tonight, “and when he no longer could play, he became a great ambassador for the game. He represented the game with the highest of class and dignity. Everybody loved Ernie Banks. He enjoyed baseball, life and people.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. We have truly lost a baseball giant.”

Give your loved ones, the youngest and oldest and everyone in between, a big hug.

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15:  Rachel Robinson left poses with Ernie Banks after the press conference prior to the game to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California on April 15, 2007.  The Dodgers defeated the Padres 9-13.  (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Rachel Robinson with Ernie Banks at Dodger Stadium on Jackie Robinson Day in 2007. (Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

“He was my picture of why baseball is such a wonderful game,” my father just wrote to me.

In case you missed it: The new Blue Review

By Jon Weisman

This week’s Think Blue Review (above) kicks off with a segment on last week’s Scouts Foundation dinner, then looks ahead to FanFest (January 31) as well as this Saturday’s open house for those interested in Dodger ticket mini plans.

Additional open houses for mini plans are scheduled for February 7 and February 21.

Season or mini plans are the best way to guarantee tickets for Opening Day — however, a limited number of individual Opening Day tickets will be on sale — online only — January 30 at 10 a.m.

Elsewhere …

Jeff Bridges card

  • Topps has put out a Celebrity First Pitches card set that includes Jeff Bridges at Dodger Stadium. David Brown has more at CBSSports.com.
  • The annual need for depth in starting pitching is examined by Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.
  • Dodgers Digest has been counting down the top 100 Dodger prospects. Today, Dustin Nosler passes the halfway point with Nos. 50-41.

Dodgers could benefit from resilience of Carlos Frias

LOS ANGELES DODGERS V WASHINGTON NATIONALS

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

When the Dodgers head to Arizona for Spring Training in February, there will be a group of versatile pitchers who are starters by trade, but offer the team some of that all-important flexibility.

Included in this group are new faces such as Mike Bolsinger, Juan Nicasio and Joe Wieland. One has been around the organization for eight years and finally had the opportunity to make an impact on the Dodgers in 2014.

Carlos Frias’ value last season was such that despite only 15 Major League games — including a forgettable start in Colorado on September 17, in which he allowed eight earned runs and couldn’t get out of the first inning — he was included on the Dodgers’ National League Division Series roster.

That versatility is something Frias realizes could return him to the 25-man roster in 2015.

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Get your FanFest autograph access in advance

LAD_12-DS-FanFest-RED-SF (2)By Cary Osborne

Among the already announced happenings at this year’s Dodgers FanFest is a big list of Dodger players and legends who will be appearing and signing autographs. The full autograph schedule is here.

A limited number of autograph session tickets will be available for sale online at www.dodgers.com/fanfest Friday at 10 a.m. PST for $20. All autograph session ticket proceeds will benefit the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. Donations will support LADF programs and provide assistance to community efforts in the area of education and literacy, health and wellness and sports and recreation.

As part of Dodger season ticket holders’ year-long benefits, a presale of autograph session tickets will be held for fans that hold Dodger season seats from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., also via www.dodgers.com/fanfest. An autograph session ticket is required to get autographs at FanFest.

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Baseball America rates top 10 Dodger prospects

By Jon Weisman

In Baseball America’s new assessment of the Dodger farm system, the triumvirate of Corey Seager, Joc Pederson and Julio Urias rates up top, in that order, followed by top 2014 draft picks Grant Holmes and Alex Verdugo.

Jose De Leon has leaped to the No. 6 spot, outfielder Scott Schebler to No. 9 and catcher Julian Leon to No. 10, with pitchers Chris Anderson and Chris Reed returning from 2014’s list. (Here’s the 2013 list for reference as well.)

“Aside from the Cubs, the Dodgers’ top three prospects are as strong as any other organization’s in basebal,” writes BA’s Ben Badler.  “After the vaunted trio, the Dodgers farm system is in a better place than it was a year ago because of the emergence of depth beyond them. Their top 2014 draft picks—first-round righthander Grant Holmes and outfielder Alex Verdugo—both had strong debuts and look like potential impact talents.”

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