Hairston's shoulder and other stuff
March, 24, 2012
By Tony Jackson | ESPNLosAngeles.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Jerry Hairston met with team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Saturday morning to have his right shoulder examined after Hairston committed his fifth throwing error of spring training on Friday. Hairston, who finished last season with the Milwaukee Brewers, later revealed to reporters that he jammed the shoulder slightly during the final game of the National League Championship Series when he dived hard into first base on a pickoff attempt.
Hairston was given oral anti-inflammatory medication, but the medical staff doesn't seem to believe it is cause for concern.
"He kind of said something about it, that he was having trouble, not that it was pain but trouble getting his arm past a certain point," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after Saturday's Cactus League game, a 5-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians before 10,247 at Camelback Ranch. "It just felt like it was getting stuck there. So before we try to make sure his footwork is right and his arm action is good, we wanted to make sure he was healthy."
All indications are that Hairston is good to go, or will be once he has full range in the shoulder. The Dodgers signed him this winter to a two-year, $6 million contract, intending for him to be one of at least two utility infielders along with Adam Kennedy.
Dodgers trainer Sue Falsone said the matter isn't of much concern at this point. Mattingly said he first raised the issue with Hairston in the dugout during Saturday's game in Tucson, during which Hairston committed another throwing error while trying to cut down a runner at the plate on a grounder to third.
"We don't really feel like all of those were errors, but still, it's five errors in a short period of time," Mattingly said.
Dee Gordon was at it again on Saturday, creating the Dodgers' first run of the game almost singlehandedly by using his blinding speed. He began the game by dropping a bunt no more than 20 feet onto the grass near the line, leaving Indians third baseman Andy LaRoche with no chance of throwing him out.
At that point, a scout in the press box clocked Gordon going from home to first base in 3.79 seconds. "That's Ichiro time," the scout said. "In his prime."
Gordon then broke for second, diving in head first as catcher Lou Marson's throw sailed several feet over the head of second baseman Jason Kipnis and into center field. Gordon got up and took third, again sliding in head first just ahead of the throw from center fielder Ryan Spilborghs. And then, Gordon scored easily on Mark Ellis' grounder to deep short.
Gordon got a little overzealous in his next at-bat, singling sharply to right-center and then trying to take second. But Spilborghs gunned him down.
Gordon finished 2-for-3, scoring twice, and also was hit by a pitch. He now is hitting .415 in the Cactus League.
Left-hander Chris Capuano said he felt a slight twinge in his right hamstring while throwing a pitch in the first inning against the Indians, his fourth start in the Cactus League, when his spike landed awkwardly on the mound as he came out of his windup. But Capuano said the discomfort went away quickly, and he went on to pitch five innings, the first four of which were effective.
"I was noticeably a little tired that last inning," he said. "I was getting the ball up and missing my spots a little bit that last inning. Conditioning-wise, I still need to get my pitch count up there, but I felt good the first four innings."
Capuano, who underwent Tommy John surgery four years ago -- it was the second such procedure of his professional career -- will fill the fifth spot in the Dodgers starting rotation and likely won't make his first start of the season until at least April 11 because Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to start both the actual opener and the home opener.
But Capuano, 33, is having a nice spring, with a 3.29 ERA and 15 strikeouts with only four walks in 13 2/3 innings. The Dodgers signed him this winter to a two-year, $10 million contract with an $8 million mutual option for 2014.
One non-roster invitee who isn't likely to make the opening-day roster -- even though Mattingly said after the game that he is in the mix for the final utility spot because he can play several positions, including emergency catcher -- is journeyman infielder Luis Cruz, who finished last season by hitting .406 in 16 games for the Mexico City Red Devils.
But after hitting a two-run triple off Rick VandenHurk to tie the game in the seventh inning and then scoring the winning run on Cory Sullivan's single, Cruz is hitting .350 this spring, with one home run and six RBIs.
Cruz, 28, has 56 games of big league experience with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brewers, most recently in 2010, and he spent most of last season in Triple-A for the Texas Rangers before asking for his release when it became clear he wouldn't be called up.
The minor league contract he signed with the Dodgers does contain an out clause, but it doesn't kick in until a few weeks into the season, which means the Dodgers could send him down without the risk of losing him immediately.
Jamey Wright pitched a perfect ninth inning on the day before his first out clause kicks in, the veteran right-hander able to become a free agent on Monday if the Dodgers don't purchase his contract.
Wright has another out clause that kicks in Friday, so it would seem likely he would wait at least until then, buying the club a little more time to make a decision. But Wright has allowed just two earned runs in eight innings this spring and is trying to make an opening-day roster as a non-roster invitee to camp for the seventh year in a row.
After the game, the Dodgers reassigned pitchers Fernando Nieve, Angel Guzman and Wil Ledezma to minor league camp. ... The Dodgers (11-7-4) play the Milwaukee Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park on Sunday, with reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw scheduled to make his fourth start of the spring. Kershaw has an 0.73 ERA in the Cactus League.