Mark’s Minor League Minutes
Our father Mark Andes was among the huge media scrum at Loanmart Field Friday night to cover Clayton Kershaw‘s first rehab assignment. Not surprisingly The place was packed. Mark asked Kershaw, and catcher Tyler Ogle some questions, and also was able to score a short interview with Quake’s GM Grant Riddle. Read on below to check that out.
Fans started lining up before 1 P.M. Friday at LoanMart Field to catch Clayton Kershaw’s rehabilitation start against the Lancaster Jet Hawks. It was a sellout for the Quakes as they were also celebrating Brian Wilson’s bobble head night.
In an interview with Quakes manager P.J. Forbes, the skipper smiled when asked how the Quakes young catcher Tyler Ogle would handle Kershaw. He motioned to the dugout and slyly remarked that it would be pitching coach Matt Herges‘s responsibility. He also made sure we all understood that his job of working with his young players to play good baseball didn’t change when a Dodger starter showed up for a few innings.
“It’s invaluable, without being in the big leagues, to watch a guy who has done what he’s done,” Quakes manager P.J. Forbes said. “There’s a ton to gain for it, and we preach to these guys all the time: You can learn by just watching the game.”
Tyler Ogle, the 23-year-old catcher/first baseman got the nod Friday night and caught Kershaw for 55 pitches.
When Lasorda’s Lair asked him if he was nervous, he responded:
“I try to slow the game down as much as possible,” he said. “The last thing I want to do is get nervous behind the plate and start making errors. If I can just play my game and let him pitch his, we should be good.”
Ogle, drafted by the Dodgers in the 9th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft also handled Julio Urias after Kershaw walked off the mound.
This was Kershaw’s second start of 2014,. The southpaw from Dallas, Texas pitched 6 innings against the Diamondbacks in Australia in the 2014 Dodger ‘s league opener. Shortly after that game, Kershaw was placed on the 15 day disabled list for the first time with a strained muscle in his upper back.
Clayton Kershaw made just 48 appearances in the minor leagues in three years before joining the Dodgers in 2008. He has not pitched at this level before, jumping from Low-A Great Lakes to Double-A Jacksonville in 2007.
Three rehabbing Dodgers have made appearances this year for the Quakes. Josh Beckett, Brian Wilson and Chad Billingsley all started games for the Quakes in their opening series.
The Quakes took an early lead in the top of the first inning when Jonathan Garcia smacked his third home run in the last five games. The Quakes increased their lead to two with a long ball from Rob Garvey in the fourth inning.
Kershaw left the game with a 2-1 lead, however the (14-8) Jethawks scored 2 runs off of reliever Geoff Brown (0-1, 3.46 ERA) to take a one run lead in the sixth inning. The Jethawks added three more runs against Julio Urias in the seventh inning. Urias struggled on the mound as he walked four and gave up a hit in just two-thirds of an inning. Brandon Meredith’s two run single put Lancaster up 6-2.
The Quakes could only add one more run off Lancaster’s reliever Lance McCullers as they fell to the Jethawks 6-3.
In the clubhouse, Kershaw answered a few questions from the throng of television cameras and reporters.
LL: How does your arm feel, and could you have gone another inning or two?
Kershaw: “My arm feels good, but I wanted to hold the pitch count to 55”.
LL: Will you pitch another rehab assignment here in Rancho Cucamonga?”
Kershaw: “ I am not sure, I haven’t spoken to anybody about it.”
LL: “Did you use all of your pitches, and were they all effective tonight?”
Kershaw: “All of them felt fine.”
Kershaw had six strikeouts, walking one batter and allowing 2 hits, one of them was a home run. His delivery looked fluid and he had good control of all of his pitches.
Lasorda’s Lair, along with Riverside Press Enterprise columnist Jim Alexander was able to interview Rancho’s General Manager Grant Riddle to gauge his reaction to all of the media and fan reaction to Clayton Kershaw’s pitching rehab assignment.
The Quakes have the advantage of being able to showcase Dodger greats on rehab assignments. “Oh, we absolutely do lean on that as part of our partnership,” Quakes general manager Grant Riddle said Friday afternoon.
“To announce that the greatest player in baseball is going to be in our ballpark with zero tickets to sell, that’s a little bit of a challenge,” Riddle said.
The Quakes take on Lancaster’s right-hander Chris Devenski (1-2, 4.19 ERA) against Lindsay Caughel (0-2, 5.48 ERA) Saturday night.