On Friday Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp gets an update on the progress of his surgically repaired ankle. Since the off-season and in Spring Training, Kemp has worked vigorously to return stronger for the 2014 season. Able to only workout and taking batting practice, good news for Kemp would be a relief where he’ll be able to practice with the rest of his teammates.
Manager Don Mattingly is optimistic that Kemp will return, however still unsure of his timetable. “I’m assuming once we get the green light to go forward, it’s still going to be a progression to get him ready,” Mattingly told the LA Times.
The results of the MRI on his ankle will determine whether he moves on to the next phase of his rehab. If all goes well, Kemp could be ready in time for the March 30th season opener against the Padres in San Diego. Or he may be available for the Dodgers home opener on March 4th.
Kemp has maintained his stance, that he wants to be a Dodger for life, and this is the year of opportunity to prove his worth to the team and organization.
Coming off a phenomenal 2013 season that resulted in the Los Angeles Dodgers appearing the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, and Clayton Kershaw acquired his second Cy Young award.
Kershaw also made news when he signed his sever year, $215 million deal, he makes his debut today in his Cactus League debut.
“It’s not a normal Spring Training,” Kershaw told MLB.com. “Tomorrow we’re, in a sense, in the middle of things. We’ve got 19 [days of spring training games] before we play a game that counts. We’ve got to feel some sense of urgency.”
The team along with Kershaw have worked out but lacked energy according to manager Don Mattingly. However Mattingly is hopefully that the Dodgers will pick up their intensity as the season gets closer to beginning. Last season the Dodgers played approximately 36 games.
Kershaw is scheduled not to participate in the games in Australia in order to lighten his work load this season. The Dodgers have a less than a month before they face the Arizona Diamondbacks in a early regular season matchup.
“We’ve got to feel some sense of urgency,” said Kershaw regarding the regular season.
The Dodgers also participated in some interleague games on Monday and Tuesday, before today’s Cactus league game in order to get into baseball rhythm.
Along with Kershaw starting on the mound, Alex Guerrero will start at second base and bat second, along with Yasiel Puig batting third. Chone Figgins makes his Dodger debut as the lead off hitter on Wednesday.
Left handed reliever JP Howell and the Los Angeles Dodgers came to an agreement on Tuesday, on a two year $11.2 million contract. The contract also includes a third year option.
The Dodgers were looking to strengthen their rotation this off season, and adding Howell allows them to do just that.
Last season Howell recorded a 2.03 ERA in just over 62 innings, and if he reaches over 120 appearances this season, he’ll be eligible to take advantage of a $6.25 million option for that third year.
Once the deal is complete after Howell passes a physical on Thursday, the Dodgers could still look for another reliever before Spring Training.
Howell was a key reliever in the Dodgers run toward the NLCS last season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Dan Haren have reached a deal on a one year, $10 million with incentives.
Haren who grew up in the Southern California area, had a strong desire to pitch again on the West Coast, and mainly in California after having a dismal year for the Washington Nationals.
Currently resides in Orange County, the Dodger deal couldn’t have come at a better time for him. He’s now will be able to spend the year with his family, something Haren couldn’t do while with the Nationals.
It’s also reported the deal includes a 2015 option that vests at 180 innings pitched, is contingent on Haren passing a physical.
He was 10-14 last season with a 4.50 ERA, however has a lifetime record of 129-111 with a 3.73 ERA.
The Dodgers look to shore up their bullpen with the signing of Haren adding depth to their rotation that currently includes 2013 Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, Silver slugger Zack Greinke, and Hyun Jin Ryu.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have finally clinched the National League West title in true Southern California fashion, by celebrating in the Chase Field pool after a champagne shower.
From worst to first in the last three months has been a remarkable story for the Dodgers this season.
Thanks to the powerful play of Hanley Ramirez and the relentless pursuit of accomplishing the NL West by the Dodgers, they defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-6.
Ramirez had been battling a sore back opened up the third inning with a huge three run home run deep to left for the 3-0 lead.
Arizona exploded in the third inning, when MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt connected on a ground ruled double that scored Adam Eaton.
Later on in the third, Wade Miley connected on an RBI double, and Didi Gregorius and Gerrado Parra scored and increased the 6-3 Diamondback lead.
The Dodgers regrouped when Michael Young connected on a sacrifice fly that scored Scott Van Slyke and trailed 6-5 in the sixth inning. Ramirez tied the game with a solo home run in the inning.
AJ Ellis contributed in a big way on a home run for the 7-6 lead off of pitcher Josh Collmenter in the eight inning.
J.P. Howell picked up two outs for the victory, and Kenley Jansen pitched an outstanding ninth inning for his 26th save.
“I want to keep going,” Ramirez said. “I think that we’ve got a couple of more steps to do. We’ve got to keep working and stay together all the way through to the end.”
The Dodgers before June 22nd were in last place in the division by 9 1/2 games by the then first place Diamondbacks. The Dodgers went an outstanding 42-8 run, and elevated their way to the top of the NL West by 10 1/2 games. The Dodgers only motivation now, is to catch the NL East leading Atlanta Braves for the National League’s best record.
“We’re a veteran ball club” Adrian Gonzalez said. “We understand it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”
“I really try to keep it kind of even. But this is a great accomplishment for these guys. We put a great team together and a big payroll with huge expectations. A lot of time that falls apart and it had a chance to fall apart during the season, I thought,” said Don Mattingly. “But the coaching staff stuck together. These guys were loyal to me. There was no backbiting or somebody trying to leap over me. They stuck together…..the players came together, we got healthy, and then we just rolled.”
Coming off a disappointing 2013 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Kemp looks to have a breakout 2014 season. This could possibly be his last opportunity to make a statement with the Dodgers. Kemp has healed nicely from ankle and shoulder surgery doing the off season and has made progress with hitting and workouts.
Kemp is too valuable to this Dodger team for the organization to turn a blind eye. Having an MVP type season in 2011, Kemp deserves another year to prove himself. Kemp looks forward to being an everyday outfielder despite the current outfielder gridlock that will fill Dodger Stadium this season.
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has been controversial since the day he entered the gates of Major League Baseball. Puig is one of the most excited players to arrive in the professional baseball, yet is still understanding the American culture in many ways.
He was just vindicated from an incident that stemmed from a speeding violation he committed on a Florida highway several months ago. Since then he has hired a driver and is committed to staying on course and focusing on being a better player for the Dodgers.
Puig was runner up in the rookie of the year voting last season with 19 home runs, .319 batting average, and 42 RBI’s.
He was clutch a various times for the Dodgers last season, and only hopes to improve his skills for this 2014 season. Currently battling right shoulder inflammation, Puig has been assigned on a throwing program thus far in Spring Training.
One Dodger legend Sandy Koufax arrived at Spring Training to assist the pitchers, but shared his thoughts on Puig with the Los Angeles Times.
“If the showmanship doesn’t involve bad decisions, yeah, it’s fine,” Koufax said. “People love it!” Koufax expressed that he’s looking forward to the development of this young phenom.
“You have a great arm, you want to show it off, but I’d like to see him throw it to the right place all the time. He’s young. The biggest thing is he’s not played against competition as good as he is. So you’re always able to have your physical ability make up for whatever else you do. He’s learning. I’m sure it’s going to happen. He has too much talent.”
Puig is a main stay in the Dodger organization and a huge celebrity with fans across baseball. He’s always looking to himself and his game, and with an attitude like that this emerging star can only get better, and possibly one day be great at his position.