The return of Vin Scully, plus ...
March, 17, 2012
By Tony Jackson | ESPNLosAngeles.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Vin Scully was characteristically understated when explaining on Saturday night why he decided to trim just a little more from his already-reduced travel schedule this year, the legendary Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster subtracting Colorado from his customary list of stops.
"There really is no big reason," Scully said. "I just wanted to back off a little bit more on the travel. That is basically it. I remember telling Frank McCourt years ago, I said I would like to disappear like a cheshire cat, where all of a sudden, the only thing left is a smile. Well, this is just a little bit of that disappearing going on, and as long as they are allowing me to do it, then why not?"
Scully still will call more than 100 games this season, including every home game not broadcast nationally by Fox. Simply put, his schedule will include every Dodgers game in California and Arizona.
Scully spoke to reporters about an hour before Saturday night's spring-training game, a 3-3, nine-inning tie with the San Francisco Giants before a sellout crowd of 13,655 -- the largest in Cactus League history -- at Camelback Ranch. It was the second half of a split-squad doubleheader, the Dodgers having lost the afternoon game 8-6 to the Colorado Rockies, also before a sellout crowd of 12,465, at Talking Stick in Scottsdale.
Scully originally hadn't planned to do any games from spring training this year, but he ultimately decided to do this one as well as Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Angels, also at Camelback Ranch. Additionally, Scully will do the final two games of the freeway series against the Angels at Dodger Stadium April 3-4.
"It occurred to me that the last baseball game I did was on Sept. 28," Scully said, recalling the Dodgers' season finale at Chase Field in Phoenix. "I thought, my gosh, all these highly talented players, they have to come here and practice for a month to get ready, so I want to do a couple of games just to get the feel of it again."
Scully also spoke extensively about his memories of Dodger Stadium, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this season; he predicted that the Dodgers will be competitive in the National League West in 2012; and he said the team's impending ownership change will have little impact, either positively or negatively, on the field.
"This is just my own, personal feeling," he said, "but things that happen in the front office, I don't believe are going to affect whatsoever the players or us. It's like on a ship, and we are down there shoveling coal while the big decisions are being made up on the bridge with the captain. We're not involved with that.
"I don't see any change in ownership having any effect at all."
Infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr., who has little chance of making the opening-day roster anyway, will undergo an MRI exam on Monday after tweaking his left oblique during a seventh-inning at-bat against the Giants. De Jesus later said he felt something on his first and last swings of the at-bat, after which he left the game and headed to the clubhouse with assistant trainer Greg Harrell while Lance Zawadzki came up to pinch hit with a 3-2 count.
Both De Jesus and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the medical staff had told them they didn't think the injury was serious, but the MRI exam will be done as a precaution.
In the first game, the Dodgers rallied from four runs down in the top of the ninth to tie the score, only to lose it in the bottom half on a two-run homer by Rockies third baseman Tim Wheeler off Dodgers minor league camper Logan Bawcom. Bawcom appeared to have struck out Wheeler on a 2-2 pitch, which would have ended the game and preserved the tie, but plate umpire Dan Bellino called a borderline pitch a ball, and Wheeler deposited Bawcom's next delivery onto the berm in right-center.
Andre Ethier went 2-for-2 with two doubles in that game and now is hitting .474, with eight of his nine hits having gone for extra bases. Nathan Eovaldi, who for now is slated to begin the season as the No. 1 starter for Triple-A Albuquerque, pitched three shutout innings, limiting the Rockies to four hits, and now has allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings.
Chris Capuano is scheduled to make his third start of the spring for the Dodgers (8-4-3) on Sunday against the Angels, but the forecast calls for rain. Mattingly said based on what he has been told, there is a good chance to game will get in, but that if it doesn't, the Dodgers will hit in the indoor batting cages instead.