Well folks, we made it. A long, tiring, and exciting off-season is now behind us. Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow! As Camelback Ranch at Glendale Arizona, the Dodger’s spring training home officially opens for business tomorrow. The rest of the players will join February 15.
The Dodgers have shocked the Baseball world with their aggressive spending this winter. The Dodgers made a number of moves, most of them centered around beefing up the pitching staff, which they arguably did. First they signed the top free agent starting pitcher on the market, Birdman Zack Greinke, to a six year 147 million dollar deal. Next they signed South Korean all-star lefty Hyun-jin Ryu to a 42 million dollar contract.
The next signings were to strengthen the bullpen and middle relief. The Dodgers signed lefty J.P. Howell, and extended spring training invites to right handers Peter Moylan, Mark Lowe, and recently veteran Kevin Gregg was added into the mix.
The Dodgers are relying upon their blockbuster trades last summer to fulfill most of the holes for the position players. For the most part they are relying on the health of several key players. Matt Kemp is coming off of his shoulder injury, Carl Crawford is recovering from Tommy John surgery., but is expected to be ready by opening day. Also coming off of injuries is Chad Billingsley, (torn elbow), Scott Elbert who just completed another surgery on his elbow, and will probably miss the first few weeks of the season, and even Clayton Kershaw is coming off of his own hip injury. The Dodgers have said they expect everyone to be healthy for the start of spring training. At least that is what they told us. (Crossing fingers, knock on wood.)
The Dodgers did acquire utility man Skip Schumaker from the Cardinals to strengthen the bench. Another notable addition came to the coaching staff, when the Dodgers hired Mark McGwire as their new hitting coach, and promoted John Valentine as assistant hitting coach. The Dodgers also added their usual assortment of NRI camp guys, who probably either will make the Albuquerque roster, or never be heard from again.
Let’s be honest though, the first few weeks of spring training are pretty boring. Not much goes on. I mean there aren’t any games being played yet. All we see are the players filing in, and working out. We see our first images of players in uniforms working out, and exercising, and taking batting practice. But it won’t be long before we get out first taste of game action. I can’t wait! Lasorda’s Lair will continue to provide you with non-stop coverage from spring training all through spring leading up to opening day.
Once again we invite you to join us as we make our journey through the 2013 season. We will be doing our usual game recaps, once the regular season starts. Spring training games begin February 23. We are another step closer to hearing those five beautiful words we love to hear every season. “It’s Time For Dodger Baseball!”