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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Pickoff Moves

Oh, They Still Know The Name "Grady Little" In Boston

Spring 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.

"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."

But what about failing to pull Pedro - was that the reason he got fired?
"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."


"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."

If the Dodgers get far enough that he can make even that mistake, I think Frank McCourt will French kiss him on ESPN.

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."

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."

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.

Choi To The World, Other Roster Notes

Chad Billingsley, Welcome To The Untouchable-Of-The-Year Club

Tony 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.

great how, in the guise of a factual article, tony jackson still manages to get in three jibes at choi. such poorly concealed disdain for a totally likeable young player like choi. it's disgusting. what a jackass.
If Matt Welch can get into the Times on the editorial page, I see no reason why Jon couldn't do the same on the sports page as a quality replacement for the two laughing hyenas currently festering there.
Thanks for that image of McCourt and Grady Little. I'm tempted to quadruple post here but I think that would be petty. ;)

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.
i was tempted to email jackson, and challenge him about the "defensive liability" bit, but i figured it would be a waste of time and energy. why would he need evidence when he's already made up his mind?
Hee Seop Choi, Three Sock Joy!

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.


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