By Mark Langill
Citing his 1974 Topps trading card as evidence, the former hero of the 1969 New York “Miracle” Mets was supposed to play outfield for Los Angeles after an offseason trade with St. Louis in exchange for pitcher Pete Richert. There was Agee in his Dodger uniform, looking up for the cameras in search of the imaginary fly ball at Dodger Stadium. At least I thought Agee was wearing a Dodger uniform; the photo was airbrushed — a pre-Photoshop term — to give his 1973 Astros or Cardinals uniform a blue-colored trim.
At age 9, it would be my first summer of seriously collecting baseball cards and closely following the adventures of the local team, which would win 102 regular-season games en route to the National League pennant.
But while first baseman Steve Garvey evolved into an All-Star as a write-in candidate and later the league’s MVP, and relief pitcher Mike Marshall seemed to appear in every game during a Cy Young Award season, where was Agee? Opening packs of trading cards, for every duplicate card of Al Downing, Lee Lacy and Andy Messersmith, there was the occasional Agee card, pictured still waiting for that fly ball.
Why would Topps make a trading card of a Dodger that didn’t exist?
By Cary Osborne
When Baseball America revealed its list of the top 100 prospects of the game on Thursday, three Dodgers ranked in the top 10. Shortstop Corey Seager was at No. 5, center fielder Joc Pederson took No. 8 and left-handed pitcher Julio Urias was at 10 (2014 first-round pick and right-handed pitcher Grant Holmes was at No. 74). This marked the first time in the 25 years that Baseball America has done a Top 100 Prospects list that the Dodgers had three of their own in the top 10.
Baseball America listed the entire history of its top 100 prospects, which gives us the opportunity to reflect. Here are some interesting notes that pop out:
For more images from today, visit LA Photog Blog.
By Jon Weisman
Well, now that Uribear is here, the party can really start …
- Zack Greinke had a planned lubricating injection in his right elbow. Greinke, who has already thrown five bullpen sessions, had the procedure done as a precaution, as Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports.
- Today’s health log also includes new reliever Joel Peralta, who had right shoulder discomfort in a bullpen session two weeks ago, Gurnick notes, but was checked out by a doctor plans to resume playing catch Sunday.
- In addition, Don Mattingly said today that non-roster submariner Ben Rowen, recovering from thoracic surgery, is on a reduced workload.
- Brandon Beachy and Farhan Zaidi spoke to reporters today about the latter signing the former. Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. has quotes, including this:
“We’re going to be conservative with it because it’s his second one and we have an investment in him not just for 2015 but 2016 as well,” Zaidi said. “We’re hoping he’ll be ready to go midseason, All-Star break, in that range, but that’s just a guess. His timeline will be determined by how well he progresses.”
- Mattingly told reporters today that he doesn’t expect to see Julio Urias pitch for the Major League club in 2015.
- The Dodgers have the No. 1 lineup in baseball, according to Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post, and the No. 3 pitching staff.
- Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson both review analytics but exploit them in different ways, writes J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News.
- It’s Spring Training, but McCarthy is in midseason Twitter form.
The Dodgers have added some established pitching depth for down the road by signing former Braves righty Brandon Beachy to a one-year contract with a club option for 2016.
Beachy, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, won’t be active when the season starts — just like Chris Withrow, who has been moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Beachy on the 40-man roster. But at age 28, Beachy is a strong comeback candidate, having posted a 3.23 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 1.13 WHIP and 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings in his 267 2/3-inning MLB career.
In 2011, Beachy had 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings, the fourth-best mark ever for a rookie starting pitcher.
Beachy had Tommy John surgery on June 21, 2012 and after five starts in 2013 (the last four in August), repeated the procedure on March 21, 2014. He’ll wear No. 37 with the Dodgers.
Beachy joins Joe Wieland, Mike Bolsinger, Carlos Frias, Erik Bedard, Zach Lee, Chris Anderson and Chris Reed among those who could take a turn in the Dodger starting rotation sometime this season.
Here’s a sneak preview from the March edition of Dodger Insider magazine — Cary Osborne’s feature on Julio Urias and the influence of Urias’ father. Click the image above to enlarge.
The new issue of Dodger Insider will be on sale at Camelback Ranch and Dodger Stadium beginning March 4. Subscription orders will be in the mail that week. You can subscribe to Dodger Insider at dodgers.com/magazine. Subscription orders received from February 16-March 12, 2015 will begin with the April issue.
— Jon Weisman
For more photos from today, visit LA Photog Blog.
By Jon Weisman
Let’s see what’s underfoot …
- Clayton Kershaw feels good but was very self-judgmental after his first bullpen session at Camelback, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
- J.P. Howell and Joel Peralta are in their third city as teammates, writes Gurnick. (Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. has more.)
- Early arrival Yasiel Puig is the subject of this feature by MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince, who writes that “this morning, he was taking hacks off the pitching machine with a slightly different mechanical intention, trying not to wrap the bat over his head as much in his stance and keeping his hands just a tad farther from his right shoulder.”
- Here’s how Corey Seager is out to make a good first impression, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.
- Dan Haren officially reported to Spring Training for the Marlins, as this Associated Press story indicates.
- David Schoenfield of ESPN.com’s Sweet Spot looks at some of the key non-roster invitees of the National League West.
- Dick Young’s February 1957 story on the Dodgers’ purchase of Wrigley Field in Los Angeles was reprinted today by the New York Daily News.
- Here’s a video clip from Thursday of Andrew Friedman and Don Mattingly discussing the Dodgers’ bullpen situation, courtesy of SportsNet LA.
And more from social media …
By Erin Edwards
On April 16, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation will host the inaugural Blue Diamond Gala, a celebration of a new season of baseball and our steadfast commitment to meaningful community impact.
This star-studded affair will include 2015 Los Angeles Dodgers players and coaches, executive staff and ownership, alumni and legends, coaches, broadcasters and celebrities, who will all bear witness to the work and impact the LADF has in the community.Vin Scully, Tommy Lasorda and Don Newcombe are among the special guests scheduled to attend, and event chairs include Cindy and A.J. Ellis, Emily and Zack Greinke, Jody and Howie Kendrick, Ellen and Clayton Kershaw and Johari and Jimmy Rollins.
The evening will feature a blue carpet VIP reception, followed by a plated dinner, fashion show produced by Ted Baker London — with Dodger players and wives as models — a live musical performance by Grammy nominated artist Aloe Blacc, a live & silent auction, and many surprises.
Guests will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience on the field at Dodger Stadium with a VIP reception overlooking the Los Angeles skyline. The LADF will showcase its programs and strategic partnerships while celebrating its beneficiaries and impact.
We are pleased to be honoring the Jackie Robinson Foundation with an award for its founder, Rachel Robinson, the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education (award for president and CEO Megan Chernin) and the LA84 Foundation (award for president Anita DeFrantz).
We hope you will join us in support of our vision to significantly impact the Los Angeles community with increased support and resources. Fundraising events like this help offset costs associated with programs like Dodgers RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) and Dodgers Dreamfields and allow us to increase our levels of charitable giving to local non-profit organizations.
Visit www.Dodgers.com/gala for more information and sponsorship packages.
The renamed Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic will take place March 8, featuring 2013 College World Series champion UCLA against USC at 3:30 p.m., preceded by 2014 titlist Vanderbilt against TCU at 11:45 a.m.
From today’s announcement:
Tickets priced at $25 for Dugout Club seats, $20 for Baseline Club seats and $10 for Field level seats are available at dodgers.com/classic, uclabruins.com and gettrojantix.com. Tickets for USC and UCLA students and children under 14 are $5 and also are available in advance only at the UCLA and USC box offices or at Dodger Stadium on the day of the event. Parking is $10 and is available only at the gate. Parking and stadium gates will open at 11:30 a.m.
For more photos from today, visit LA Photog Blog.
By Jon Weisman
On the first official day of Spring Training, there’s enough material for two batches of ICYMI — thanks in part to the dual, shirt-dazzling presence of Andrew Friedman and Don Mattingly. Let the bullet points begin …
- New Dodger starting pitcher Brett Anderson has tested his surgically repaired lower back through several bullpen sessions and so far, so good, reports MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, who adds that “Anderson said he might be on a slightly modified workload early in camp, but his goal is to train at the same pace as the other starting pitchers.”
- Per Gurnick, “Hyun Jin-Ryu said on Thursday that he’s in better shape to throw than he was his first two springs with the Dodgers, having already thrown more bullpen sessions in an attempt to avoid the shoulder problems that plagued him last year.”
- Clayton Kershaw juxtaposed his regular-season success with his postseason disappointment, reports Gurnick.
- More on Kershaw comes from Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles, including this note on fatherhood.
… “I feel like I’m a decent dad at this point. It was tough to leave them, obviously, but Ellen’s a champ. She can handle it,” Kershaw said. “I’ve definitely changed some diapers and I’ve gotten up. I mean, there’s only so much you can do, but I’ve offered some moral support.” …
- Saxon also quotes Friedman on the bullpen situation:
… “Right now, the guys we’ve had some trade discussions about, the guys that are freely available, we’re going to continue to try to sift through it and figure out what actually makes sense as opposed to a reactionary move that may look good in the moment,” Friedman said. …
- A.J. Ellis told J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News that he worked with a coach during the offseason on trying to improve his pitch framing, which he takes seriously.
… “It’s definitely real,” Ellis said. “I think it’s something that people are giving a lot more credence to. People are looking at it. Catching is such a hard position to evaluate because there’s so many intangibles that you can’t put a measurement on.
“People love lists, and this is one way you can see a list of rankings and make judgments on who belongs where. There’s no stat right now for a catcher’s value in calling a game.” …
- This quote from Chris Hatcher is part of Eric Stephen’s notebook at True Blue L.A.:
…”First and foremost, I just want to make the team. Second of all, just to be ready when they call my name,” Hatcher said. “They haven’t really expressed anything to me, and I’m not expecting [to close]. I’m just preparing to be ready to take the ball.”‘ …
- Longtime Dodger fans remember Ron Cey’s incomparable single, “Third Base Bag.” Cey talks to Dan Epstein about it at Fox Sports’ Just a Bit Outside.
By Jon Weisman
So I looked outside because they said pitchers and catchers were reporting to Spring Training today, but no one was on the field at Dodger Stadium. And then someone said, “Maybe they’re in Arizona, at Camelback Ranch.” And I said, “You know, you’re probably right. That makes sense.”
Well, maybe that’s not exactly how it went. But I do wish they were here, or I was there. The good news is, I’ll be there in less than a week. So I told them not to wait for me to start their workouts.
Now, what’s happening on this fine morning …
- Among the other position players who have reported ahead of their February 26 deadline are Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Scott Schebler.
- Senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes gave a 12-minute interview to David Vassegh of AM 570 KLAC. Here’s what he had to say about the Dodger bullpen in the wake of Kenley Jansen’s foot surgery:
“I think it’s something we’ll talk about with Don Mattingly and Rick Honeycutt,” Byrnes said. “Sometimes, the players will dictate what roles they need to be in, and I’ve certainly been around a few teams and seasons where we probably didn’t know until the end of March who was going to be our closer. Once someone locks it down, they can sometimes get on a roll. I think we’ll keep talking about it — we might just be patient and see how guys are doing, we might look external — but I think we’re gonna be open-minded in terms of how and when we try to solidify the back end.”
- Why is Julio Urias so awesome? Wilson Karaman answers the question at Minor League Ball.
- In November, we reported how close the Dodgers came to being known as the Kings. At Radom Thoughts, Todd Radom writes about how close they came to being nicknamed the Canaries.
- Former Dodger infielder Lenny Harris has been named assistant hitting coach for the Marlins, writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com (via Hardball Talk).
And more from social media …