Saturday, February 18, 2006
Oh, They Still Know The Name "Grady Little" In BostonSpring training is all about fresh starts, and in Providence, they're asking how Grady Little's handling this one:
Now Little is the happy manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the doubts seem to have vanished. He patted Eric Gagne on the back and chatted with former Boston starter Derek Lowe as the Dodgers pitchers and catchers worked out for the first time Thursday. What happened at Yankee Stadium 856 days ago has long been a memory for Little.But what about failing to pull Pedro - was that the reason he got fired?
"I don't think it'll ever be totally forgotten," Little said. "If you spent any time in New England, I think you'd realize that."
"That wasn't the reason," Little said. "I don't know. You've got to ask somebody else that question. I know in my heart probably what the real reason was. But I can't turn back the clock."If the Dodgers get far enough that he can make even that mistake, I think Frank McCourt will French kiss him on ESPN.
"Without getting too in depth," Lowe said, "there were guys that probably didn't want to go out there and pitch the eighth."
Martinez said: "I was tired. They knew I was tired. But Grady didn't have the faith in the bullpen that he wanted to have."
The Dodgers' Number One Concern?I like Eric Gagné and all, but is this really true?
It's no secret -- Little said that Gagne's health is "the No. 1 concern for all of us right now."I would think Derek Lowe's health, or that of the aging vets signed in the offseason, would be more of a concern. To that end, the Dodgers have retained the services of Athletes Performance Institute, an organization that "focuses on all aspects of an athlete's physical preparation, including nutrition, strength and conditioning". The deal's of an unknown length, but supposedly at least six months long. Trainer Pat Screnar supposedly quit over the team's relationship with API.
Gagne says he is absolutely certain that his health is good and that he will regain his old form this summer.
"There is no doubt at all," he said. "No doubt at all that I'm going to go out and do my job. I know that for a fact."
Choi To The World, Other Roster Notes
- In the Daily News article above, we learn that the Dodgers are using the WBC to showcase Hee Seop Choi.
- Yhency Brazoban and Franquelis "Run Donor" Osoria were both expected to report to spring training today.
- The Cards have signed Scott Spiezio to a minor league deal.
- Cesar Izturis swung a bat without pain at spring training practice yesterday.
- Derek Thompson had scar tissue removed from his elbow, and will not pitch until as late as September.
- Mike Piazza will get a crash course at first, but will not be a regular starter at the position.
- Kelvim Escobar was excused from fielding duties due to tendinitis in his knee. The ailment may keep him out of the WBC.
- Percival has ceded his role as the Tigers' closer, now merely hoping to win a job as a setup man in middle relief. "It ain't going to be 95 (miles an hour) any more," Percival said, "but I've thrown 75-80 pitches at a time without much of a problem. It just takes me a couple of days to recover. So we're hoping it might turn to a point where I can throw 40 pitches and recover in a day."
- Former Angel, Athletic, Red, Devil Ray, Pirate, an Diamondback Jose Guillen is talking to the Nationals about an extension. Rotoworld sneers that
Guillen will make $4 million this year and is eligible for free agency at season's end. Given that it's still uncertain how recovered he'll be from labrum surgery this year and he has a history of disruptive behavior, a long-term extension would seem to be a lousy idea. As a result, we fully expect it to happen.I agree.
- Update: Canadian and Dodger catching prospect Russell Martin has announced his withdrawal from the WBC.
- Via Jon, Greg Miller has probably permanently been shifted to relief.
Chad Billingsley, Welcome To The Untouchable-Of-The-Year ClubTony Jackson pens a brief article in the Press Telegram about Chad Billingsley's sudden status as a rumored untouchable:
"I kind of ignore all the things that get written about me," [Billingsley] said. "I don't want to get wrapped up in it, even though sometimes it's fun to read it just to see what they say. I might pick up a Baseball America once in a while, but it's usually because there are a couple other guys from my high school who are in pro ball, and I want to see how they are doing."Which is good, because he hasn't pitched an inning above AA. It should be interesting to see how he does in the thin air at Vegas.
My lasting of Grady Little's final game as Red Sox skipper is Alan Embree throwing bee-bees in the bullpen and clearly ticked that he wasn't getting in the game. After Martinez was pulled, Embree got the call and threw well but as Scully would say, "the horse is way down the road."
Regarding Jackson: Yeah, he hates Choi. I think he does a good job covering the Dodgers but, man, talk about selective description--the "lumbering" Choi. How about "Choi, who out-produced Garciaparra last year" or "Choi, who actually has a great deal of experience at first base"... or something.
Choi had four big games for the Dodgers in 2005. On April 29th he hit a grand slam against Colorado, on May 10th he had a home run and 4 rbi game @ St. Louis in which Scott Rolen was injured in a collision with Choi, on June 10th and 12th he had a 2 home run and 3 home run game against Minnesota. I went to the three home games mentioned above. Indeed the 2005 Dodgers should have called it a season after June 12th and gone home for the winter. Immediately after that the Dodgers bled Blue suffering a 2-11 road trip that included getting swept in Kansas City.
On October 2nd, 2004 vs San Francisco Hee Seop Choi walked as a PINCH-HITTER to help set the stage for Steve Finley's division-winning walk-off grand slam. There is a good possibility that Choi will play more games at first base for the 2006 Dodgers than Nomar Garciaparra. Nomar's recent injury-plagued seasons make me think that the Dodgers will win more games (low 80's) than Nomar will play games.