Tag:Dee Gordon
Posted on: March 3, 2012 6:19 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2012 6:29 pm
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Injury roundup: Wright, Marcum, Gordon and more

By Matt Snyder

Mets third baseman David Wright was scratched from the lineup in an intrasquad game Saturday due to soreness in his left side. Per the Associated Press, he has stiffness near his ribcage, something he felt back on Monday. He has been limited in workouts this week, but it's nothing to worry about just yet.

"If it was a real game, obviously I would be playing," Wright said (Associated Press). "But they wanted to try to take it slow, especially this early in the spring."

The Mets are looking for Wright to play in their Grapefruit League opener Monday night.

Other minor injury news and updates from Saturday:

• Hopefully this doesn't become a daily thing, but we have another Carl Crawford update. The Red Sox left fielder had a setback Friday with swelling in his surgically repaired wrist, but Saturday he reiterated his goal is to be ready for opening day. He's taking anti-inflammatory medication and the swelling has already decreased. (BostonHerald.com)

Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum threw Saturday and reportedly indicated he felt "much better." His shoulder soreness is going away and he's scheduled to pitch his first spring game March 10. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via Twitter)

Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon took a bad hop to the mouth Saturday. He received "several stitches to close a gash on his lip." (MLB.com)

• Remember Kiko Calero? CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports that Calero is "considering Bartolo Colon surgery as he weighs a comeback." Colon had surgery that placed fat and bone marrow stem cells into his elbow and shoulder, helping him get his career back on track with the Yankees last season. Calero, 37, last pitched in 2009 for the Marlins. He had a 1.95 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 69 strikeouts in 60 innings.

Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong was one of several starting pitchers to go down with lower back stiffness early on in camp, but he threw from 105 feet Saturday and will back up to 120 feet Sunday. He will then hit the mound either Tuesday or Wednesday, as his back is feeling better. (CSNBayArea.com via Twitter)

• Mets outfielder Scott Hairston was removed from Saturday's intrasquad game with an apparent side injury. Remember, Hairston ended the 2011 season on the disabled list with a strained oblique. (ESPN New York)

• Giants reliever Dan Runzler has left camp and will fly to see Dr. James Andrews for an examination on his left shoulder and lat area. An MRI showed the left-handers' rotator cuff, but surgery hasn't been ruled out. It really doesn't sound good, as even a strained lat muscle would put Runzler out for around six weeks. (CSNBayArea.com)

Padres infielder Logan Forsythe fractured a sesamoid bone in his left foot Saturday and will be out for anywhere from two to eight weeks. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:13 pm
 

NFL lineman helped Matt Kemp get in top shape



By C. Trent Rosecrans


With pitchers and catchers reporting this weekend, there will be a slew of reports about players coming into camp in great shape -- either having lost weight or put on muscle. The only thing we'll see more of than these reports people on Twitter and on blogs mocking those reports thinking they're making an original point about these kind of stories by making tired jokes.

One of these stories came over the Associated Press wire on Thursday, as the AP talked to Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp about his offseason training. Kemp attributed much of his success last season to his offseason workouts at Zone Athletic Performance in Scottsdale, Ariz. Kemp dropped 15 pounds before going to camp last year and went on to an MVP-type season. What caused an editor to send me a link to the article was the hook that Zone is owned by an NFL player, who worked out alongside Kemp. What caught my eye was that NFL player was Eagles guard Evan Mathis.

Mathis isn't exactly a household name, despite the fact that ProFootballFocus.com ranked him the No. 1 guard in the NFL last season. But I covered Mathis both in college at Alabama and in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals and got to know him a little bit. So, with that as a starting point, I emailed Mathis about working with Kemp and he agreed to answer a couple of questions about his work with Kemp, as well as with the Dodgers' Dee Gordon and Darnell McDonald of the Red Sox.

Any doubt Mathis knows what he's talking about? Check out this photo of what he did during the NFL lockout:

Evan Mathis

Q: How'd you hook up with Matt Kemp?
A: We met six or seven years ago at a now-defunct training facility.

Q: Do you follow baseball at all, did you know much about him?
A: When we first met, he hadn't been in the majors yet.

Q: So after working with Matt last offseason, how closely did you follow him last year?
A: He was pretty much Zone Athletic Performance's first professional athlete client. As soon as we opened he was in there training preparing for his 2011 season. I definitely followed him throughout the season watching his hard work and dedication pay off.

Q: I'm sure you were happy with his success, but where you surprised?
A: Not at all.  The two trainers at Zone who handle our professional athletes, Garrett Shinoskie and Adam Mathis, have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to bringing the best out of an athlete. When you combine that with a player who has the drive and determination that Matt has, it's destined for success.

Q: What's the difference between working with baseball players and working with football players?
A: I'm not the one writing the programs but it is definitely different. But so is training an offensive lineman and a safety. Everybody has different strengths, weakness, goals, and requirements.  All of that goes into the formula for devising anyone's most efficient workout program.

Q: Are there any similarities?
A: Indeed there are some similarities. Most baseball and football players can benefit greatly from developing explosion through their hips.

Q: You mention the hips, that seems to make sense -- it's something you hear from all coaches. Hips seem to be an underrated part of the body to work on, but it makes sense because it's close to your center of gravity and controls everything in both the top and bottom half of the body. What kind of specific things do you do to strengthen that part of the body?
A: In baseball it's more about rotating the hips. A player can make an explosive rotation and put their strength behind the swing. For myself in football, when I hit a defender I explode through my hips and lift their center of gravity on contact. Some simple hip exercises include the medicine ball keg toss, kettle bell swing, step-ups, and the list goes on. The most important aspect of training for hip explosion is maintaining ones flexibility. At Zone, the trainers use the first ten minutes of each workout to do stretches and warm-ups to ensure maximum flexibility.

Q: Not giving away any secrets, but what's a typical workout like for an elite-level pro athlete? What about the diet?
A: Off-season training at Zone usually consists of 6 day weeks, each workout an hour long.  The average schedule is like this: Monday = arms, Tuesday = legs, Wednesday = core/conditioning, Thursday = torso, Friday = power, Saturday = core/conditioning. Each day has different dietary guidelines based on that day's workload.

Q: What's the most important thing you teach at Zone?
A: In a close second to the training is the diet.  Most athletes have no idea how to follow efficient nutritional guidelines. An athlete has to treat their body like a machine and put the best fuels into that machine that will maximize its production. I still have Garrett write out my diet because I'm not the expert in that field and he is.

Q: What kind of diet tip do you have for anyone out there?
A: The biggest thing for me was understanding the importance of carbohydrates. When used the right way, they can feed your muscles to maximum growth and help you maintain a high metabolism. My diet is a carb cycling diet. Based on the intensity of each day's training I will have either a high, medium, or low intake of carbs for that day. A lot of people try the low or no carb diets but that's like trying to drive a car with no gasoline. Your body needs its carbs. Getting into the details of the carb cycle would turn this response into an essay. There are numerous articles on the web about it and the trainers at Zone are actually working on an eBook guide as we speak.

Q: Any workout tips?
A: Change your routine every three-to-four weeks, don't stick to the same lifts for long periods of time. Every three weeks at Zone we have a completely new set of workouts. This aids in injury prevention, avoids training plateaus, and ensures that all muscle groups are getting their necessary attention.

Q: Often when a player starts camp and says they're "in the best shape of their life" people kind of roll their eyes and make a joke out of it. Does it matter or is it just talk?
A: Being in the best shape of your life definitely does matter for an athlete. There are two problems when it comes to an athlete saying that. The first is whether or not it's true when they say it. The second is, while it may be true, some guys won't work to maintain it throughout the season. Kemp stayed in constant contact with the trainers at Zone making sure he was doing everything he could to carry over all of the hard work he did throughout the season. I said I was in the best shape of my life going into last season and it definitely showed on the field.  I had a great year and it gave me a great starting point for this off-season to get in even better shape for 2012.


Q: Are you a baseball fan at all? Do you have any baseball background?
A: Growing up I was always a baseball fan. I was an avid card collector, a huge Frank Thomas fan, and I played a little baseball from ages 12-17. I still dabble in card collecting and can tell you almost any player's rookie year from 1986-2003. I tell Matt Kemp every day I see him that we need to go to the field so I can show him how to crush a ball. He thinks that it would be easier for him to crossover to football than it would be for me to go to baseball. I'm confident that I would crush a few bombs in BP if given the chance.

Check out the attached picture of a tweet between myself and Frank Thomas. I have to make something like this happen one day.


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Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:39 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 7:41 am
 

HomegrownTeam: Los Angeles Dodgers



By Matt Snyder

What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

Do the Dodgers do well in drafts and international signings? The answer is a resounding yes. What they do with those players could certainly be questioned, but as far as building a foundation, few have been better in recent years. See below.

Lineup

1. Dee Gordon, SS
2. Shane Victorino, RF
3. Matt Kemp, LF
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
6. Carlos Santana, C
7. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
8. Miguel Cairo, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Edwin Jackson
3. Ted Lilly
4. Hiroki Kuroda
5. Chad Billingsley

If you don't like us using Kuroda -- some commenters have disagreed with including guys who were professional players in Japan in this series -- you can slide in James McDonald or the youngster Rubby De La Rosa.

Bullpen

Closer - Joakim Soria
Set up - Javy Guerra, Joel Hanrahan, Kenley Jansen, Takashi Saito, Jonathan Broxton, Pedro Feliciano, Cory Wade
Long - McDonald

Notable Bench Players

Russell Martin, Henry Blanco, James Loney, Blake DeWitt, Trayvon Robinson, Jerry Sands, Alex Cora

What's Good?

Spoiler Alert: This section is going to be much longer than "what's not." How about starting with the offensive firepower Victorino, Kemp, Konerko, Beltre and Santana bring in the 2-6 spots of the order? That is sick. Gordon has good potential and Gutierrez was a decent hitter before his stomach issues derailed him a few years ago. The starting rotation is good, deep, has a good lefty-righty mix and a true ace sitting at the top. The bullpen is so deep it's unimaginable. It's not as great as the Yankees' bullpen (Clippard-Robertson-Axford-Rivera) in this exercise, but this is definitely an elite unit. The bench is pretty damn good, too. Best of all, though, how about the defensive range? Gutierrez was widely considered the best center fielder in baseball before his stomach woes. Victorino is a three-time Gold Glover while he lost out to Kemp this season. I decided to shift Kemp to left because Victorino has a cannon that is an asset in right. Not that Kemp can't throw. This would be one insane defensive outfield. Beltre is the best defensive third baseman in baseball, too. That's a lot of help for an already-good pitching staff.

What's Not?

Anything would be a nitpick. Maybe that Dee Gordon might not yet be ready to lead off for this team? If that was the case, you could move up Victorino and then the bottom of the order becomes a bit weak. But, again, that's a nitpick.

Comparison to real 2011

I kind of chuckled during all the MVP arguments when people would say that Kemp played for a team that "sucks." The Dodgers finished 82-79. Yes, they were out of contention for pretty much all of the season, but they finished above .500, so they definitely don't suck. Of course, those real-life Dodgers couldn't hold a candle to this group. This is a World Series-caliber club, but the funny thing is, did you see Arizona's team? The D-Backs lineup is much better, but the Dodgers have the better defense and pitching. We'd have a nice battle for the NL West title and maybe even see a rematch in the NLCS. If only ...

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Posted on: November 30, 2011 1:18 pm
 

Hellickson, Kimbrel lead All-Rookie team

Craig KimbrelBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Just when you thought award season was over -- move over Justin Verlander, you're not going to be on this list -- the Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team was announced on Wednesday. This is actually the 53rd, or so they tell us, All-Rookie team the baseball card company has put out (and did include Verlander back in 2006).

So, here it is:

1B Mark Trumbo, Angels

2B Danny Espinosa, Nationals

SS Dee Gordon, Dodgers

3B Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays

OF Desmond Jennings, Rays

OF Josh Reddick, Red Sox

OF Ben Revere, Twins

C J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays

SP Jeremy Hellickson, Rays

RP Craig Kimbrel, Braves

In all, it looks fine. I'm a bigger fan of Eric Hosmer than Trumbo, but I can see why some would pick Trumbo. I'd also take Dustin Ackley over Espinosa, but otherwise, it seems difficult to nitpick all that much. And in the end, if you're nitpicking the Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team, you may need to get out of the house a little more.

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Posted on: October 9, 2011 1:36 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 3:53 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers

By Matt Snyder

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 82-79, third place in NL West, 11.5 games back
Manager: Don Mattingly
Best hitter: Matt Kemp -- .324/.399/.586, 39 HR, 126 RBI, 115 R, 40 SB
Best pitcher: Clayton Kershaw -- 21-5, 2.28 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 248 K, 233 1/3 IP

2011 SEASON RECAP

The Dodgers were mediocre at best and pretty bad at times for most of the 2011 season, but all of a sudden, something seemed to click. After an August 21 loss, the Dodgers sat 57-69. The rest of the way, they went 25-10. Simply: For the last five weeks of the season, the Dodgers were one of the best teams in baseball. It's just that it was too late and not many noticed -- including Joe Buck, who said "a bad Dodgers team" during the ALCS telecast Saturday night.

On the field, this Dodgers season will be remembered for two reasons. More specifically, two players. Matt Kemp would have the NL MVP in the bag had his teammates played better all season. He may lose out to Ryan Braun, though, due to many voters believing the winner of the individual award has to come from a team that was in contention. Clayton Kershaw won the pitching triple crown (led the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts -- note: He tied Ian Kennedy in wins, but that still counts). He's the likely Cy Young Award winner in the NL.

Off the field, this Dodgers season has been completely and utterly marred by owner Frank McCourt. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, he's still the owner. At least as of this writing.

2012 AUDIT

R.I.P. series
Despite the strong close, the Dodgers are still in a state of limbo. There are several holes and the ownership mess makes it unknown as to how they can proceed. Fortunately, the nucleus is young and rather strong. Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra make a strong back-end duo in the bullpen. Kershaw is an elite ace. Kemp is one of the best all-around players in baseball. Chad Billingsley is fickle, but he's still only 27. The youth movement showed promise for the future, too, with Dee Gordon, Jerry Sands and Rubby De La Rosa (who had Tommy John surgery in August) showing they can be part of the solution in L.A. On the other hand, decisions need to be made with James Loney, Andre Ethier, catcher, second base and third base.

The franchise is not set up to be a slam-dunk contender, nor is it set up for futility in the near future. If the ownership situation would get settled very soon and the Dodgers could be a major player in free agency, they'd have a great shot at winning the NL West in 2012. It's just that we don't know how long the ownership situation will linger. Even if McCourt lost the team today, however, the approval process wouldn't be complete until it was too late to make several major plays at the likes of Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and C.J. Wilson.

FREE AGENTS

Rod Barajas, C
Jamey Carroll, 2B
Aaron Miles, 2B
Casey Blake, 3B (option declined)
Juan Rivera, OF
Jon Garland, SP (option declined)
Hiroki Kuroda, SP
Jonathan Broxton, RP
Mike MacDougal, RP
Vicente Padilla, RP

OFFSEASON FOCUS

Unfortunately for the Dodgers, they can't act like a large-market team as long as the McCourt financial stuff continues. And that won't be resolved this offseason. Still, there is significant payroll coming off the books. The general direction of the franchise should be to try and compete with the younger players while letting the aging veterans walk, but a few exceptions can be made -- because it's very realistic that the Dodgers can compete in the NL West in 2012.
  • They can probably make a run at Jose Reyes. His zealous personality would fit perfectly in Hollywood, just as his bat would atop the order. Gordon could be moved to second base and hit second. So the lineup would start: Reyes, Gordon, Kemp, Ethier (well, maybe, we'll get to that ... ).
  • Play Juan Uribe full time at third base. He's not too old to bounce back from an injury-plagued campaign.
  • Dangle Ethier as a trade candidate. Even when he's at his best, he's not an elite player -- yet many seem to view him as one. He's a free agent at the end of 2012 and has had several episodes of complaining about the team and then backing off the comments. I wouldn't necessarily come out and say he's gone, but instead quietly shop him. If he can be dealt for prospects, Sands and Tony Gwynn Jr. are enough to fill out the outfield for the time being, while L.A. just treads water waiting for the ownership situation to be sorted out.
  • Give Loney one last chance. The 27 year old was one of the best hitters in the league in the last five weeks. If it was a fluke, the Dodgers can address first base next season. If the McCourt situation was different, a run at Fielder or Albert Pujols while selling high Loney would make a lot of sense, but I just don't think they could pull that off financially at this point.
  • Bring Kuroda back for one more year. He wants to stay in L.A. anyway, and with De La Rosa on the shelf recovering from surgery, there's a need for a stop-gap in the rotation. 
  • If there's any possible way to do so financially, Kemp needs a huge contract extension. He's only 27 and can anchor the franchise for a long time. He's also wildly popular, so this would at least send a message to the fans that the Dodgers are still very relevant.
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Posted on: September 6, 2011 9:13 pm
 

Strasburg dazzles in return

Stephen Strasburg

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Our own Danny Knobler will have more from Washington later, but if you missed it -- Stephen Strasburg didn't disappoint in his return from Tommy John surgery. In his first start in the majors just days after the anniversary of his surgery, Strasburg was dominant, throwing five shutout innings, allowing two hits, no walks and striking out four.

As impressive as the results were, so too were the brush strokes on the masterpiece -- a fastball that was clocked as high as 99 mph, the same knee-buckling curveball we saw last year and the change up that can make anyone looking for heat look silly. As many words as have been used to describe Strasburg, they all seem apt.

Last season his debut dress both viewers and raves. Strasmas went from a one-time event to a traveling carnival, and even if he didn't live up to the billing in every start, nobody walked away not understanding that the hype was justified.

Tuesday was no different.

Many pitchers have come back from Tommy John surgery, so coming back soon and even better isn't unheard of at this point. However, for most pitchers coming back requires the search for their old release point and control. In Strasburg's return, he had 14 first-pitch strikes to the 17 batters he faced and didn't seem to have an errant pitch. And that's what's always been so impressive about Strasburg, it's not just the stuff, but the command. He knows he can overpower a batter and also trick them. Set up for one and you set up for failure. 

In the fourth inning, one of baseball's best, Matt Kemp, watched two strikes and a ball all at 96 mph or better and then went after a 90 mph two-seam fastball that darted down below the zone that had Kemp flailing at it for the third strike and Strasburg's third strikeout of the night.

In all, Strasburg threw 56 pitches, 40 for strikes. He gave up a leadoff double to Dodgers rookie Dee Gordon to lead off the game (on what would have been a single for anyone with mere human speed) before retiring the next 11 batters he faced. The only other hit was a grounder by Juan Rivera that shortstop Ian Desmond got a glove on, but couldn't corral.

There will be bumps along the way, that's what baseball's all about. But Tuesday wasn't one of those bumps, instead it was a triumph, one of many seemingly to come.

If everything pans out for the Nationals -- which of course will always be a huge if -- the one thing Strasburg brings is not only an ace, but maybe something just a tad more  -- that ace that isn't swayed by an stage or any spotlight. Strasburg's entire career has been in the spotlight, one that has been bright and hasn't bothered him a bit.

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Posted on: July 5, 2011 10:35 am
Edited on: July 5, 2011 2:10 pm
 

Pepper: Dee Gordon 'wants to be great'; demoted


If you had one game to win, would you start Justin Verlander, Jon Lester or CC Sabathia? C. Trent Rosecrans joins Lauren Shehadi to answer that question and more.

By Evan Brunell


RETURN PENDING: Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon is being sent out to Triple-A to make room for Rafael Furcal's return, but if manager Don Mattingly knows what he's talking about, Gordon will be back at some point.

The scrawny son of Tom Gordon hit .232/.250/.280 in 85 plate appearances, just flat out awful numbers, and it's hard to think that his complete and utter lack of power is being exposed. Sure, there are plenty of successful slap hitters in the bigs, but even they have a modicum of power. When you look at Gordon, you certainly will have trouble finding any ounce of fat or muscle on him, so rifling line drives is a lot harder than for someone like Michael Bourn, who also has low power numbers.

Mattingly said that Gordon "showed [Mattingly] he wants to be great. That's the biggest thing."

"He has a real good feel for the game," GM Ned Colletti added. "He was able to slow things down more than not."

Maybe so, but the 23-year-old has a ways to go if he wants to be the Dodgers' future starter.  (Los Angeles Times)

ICE-CREAM TEAMS: Ice cream and baseball are as American as it gets, so it's no surprise that someone came up with corresponding ice-cream flavors for each baseball team. The Yankees being "vanilla" might sound odd given the term means ordinary, but let Timothy Malcom explain.

"The Yankees is and have been America’s most popular baseball team. It’s clean, it’s tradition, it’s even kind of predictable. But it’s always great, and always there at the end of the day. Damn Yankees."

Meanwhile, the poor Cubs get stuck with Neapolitan -- "Combine the tradition of the Vanilla Yankees, the sweet failure of the Chocolate Red Sox and the perennially optimistic Midwest following of the Strawberry Cardinals, and you have this wonderful combination of baseball’s top tier. The problem, of course, is nobody ever buys Neapolitan." (Timothy Malcom)

HAUNTED HOTEL: Humberto Quintero is currently at Houston's Triple-A affiliate on a rehab assignment for an injury. The backstop's team completed a game in Memphis, Tenn. and departed back to Oklahoma City afterward. Quintero hung back for the night, but had to switch hotels after two murders took place. I'd switch, too. (MLB.com)

HIGH-SCHOOL MEMORIES: The last time Laynce Nix played first base was in high school. Before Monday, that is. Slammed with injuries, Nationals manager asked Nix, an outfielder, if he had ever played first. After hearing that Nix did so in high school, Johnson decided that was good enough and sent Nix out to first base for the seventh inning. “It was pretty wild, I’m still trying to figure out how that worked out,” Nix said. “But it was fun.” (Washington Times)

PRIVATE PITCHERS: Cubs manager Mike Quade wonders if pitchers should have the chance to warm up privately. He's not referring to the standard mid-inning tosses, but rather when a pitcher is forced to enter the game without warming up in the bullpen due to a pitcher's injury. In these cases, he can warm up for as long as he needs on the mound, but he can't get ready in the bullpen. Why not, Quade asks. ‘‘If a guy’s more comfortable doing his thing [in the bullpen], I’d rather have him [do that] because of the urgency once you get on the mound and everybody’s watching.’’ Interesting idea, but if the dude is expected to pitch in a game on that mound in front of a national TV audience and crowd, he can handle warming up. (Chicago Sun-Times)

WHY? A 4.47 ERA doesn't quite lend itself to being called a setup man, especially Kameron Loe, who has given up lead after lead this season despite not being notably any worse than last year. Fans are getting fed up with Loe, who blew a lead Monday as Milwaukee went on to lose. So why did Loe get the ball? Simple, says Brewers manager Ron Roenicke: lefty Zach Braddock was tired and the club isn't prepared to throw Takashi Saito, who has missed the entire season to date due to injury until coming off the DL mere days ago, into the fire that quickly. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

TOUGH CHOICE: Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he had a terrible time trying to figure out which Padres reliever to name to the All-Star Game: Heath Bell or Mike Adams? In the end, he took the closer -- but if and when Bell is traded this month, Adams will take over closing duties. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

MISERABLE: Clay Buchholz admitted he is "getting a little miserable" with the back problems that have yet to get better and have left him on the DL for 2 1/2 weeks, already past the projected return date. The righty is seeing a back specialist and will simply have to wait things out before returning to the Red Sox rotation. (WEEI)

GARLAND DONE? Part of what has made Jon Garland so appealing to teams is his durability. Well, 2011 certainly won't be part of his resume after his second trip to the disabled list has gone on for a month with right-shoulder inflammation and threatens his entire year. The right-hander will get a second opinion, but the Dodgers pitcher is likely done for the year whether he goes under the knife or not. (ESPN Los Angeles)

TIME FOR SPRING TRAINING: Johan Santana threw off a mound Monday and had no setbacks, so Santana will now begin his version of spring training. Don't count on a return from the lefty until mid-August, at which point this Mets team could have an entirely different look thanks to the trade deadline. (New York Post)

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Posted on: June 24, 2011 10:16 pm
 

Furcal could be shifted to second upon return

By Evan Brunell

FurcalDon Mattingly said on Friday that the Dodgers have discussed moving Rafael Furcal to second base when he returns from the disabled list, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Furcal has been sidelined by a strained oblique since June 4 and is hoping to return by the end of the month. However, the shortstop may have lost his job to Dee Gordon, who is hitting .268/.293/.321 in 59 plate appearances. Hardly exciting, but the team is a fan of his play and the speedster is flashing a solid glove. With Casey Blake and Juan Uribe both struggling at the plate, Mattingly could go to an effective platoon between Furcal, Gordon, Uribe and Blake while keeping Jamey Carroll in the lineup by moving him around the infield. Carroll has been the team's best hitter out of the infield so far, so he'll keep getting playing time. Aaron Miles, too, has hit rather well at a .307/.321/.347. Who knew the Dodgers could extract good seasons out of backup infielders?

If Furcal gets shifted to second, that will give the team six infielders. That could be addressed by moving Casey Blake to left field, a position that is a constant source of pain for L.A.

Furcal, when he's going, can be a strong hitter, as evidenced by his .300/.366/.460 line last season. However, he's as injury-prone as they come and has already had two extended stints on the disabled list this season, limiting him to just 69 PA and a .212/.246/.273 line.

Furcal has 36 career games played at second, most coming in 2000 for the Braves. It's possible that playing him at second could limit his chances of getting hurt, as he wouldn't be relied upon to be the linchpin of the infield defense.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com