Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

March 18, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Tony Jackson

Tony Jackson
  (3:02 PM)

Good afternoon everyone, from Camelback Ranch. Dodgers-Cubs starting up in about an hour. Because of the time change, and the fact Arizona doesn't HAVE a time change, this chat is taking place in the final hour before game time this week, instead of DURING the first three innings of the game as it did last week. Fans are already filing in, it's a beautiful day, looks like it's going to be a good crowd. Let's get right to your questions. ...

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who was the Last Dodgers Pitcher to Win the World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers?

Tony Jackson
  (3:02 PM)

Chris I assume you mean the last Dodgers pitcher to win a World Series GAME? That would be Orel Hershiser, Game 5, 1988. It was a complete game, not a shutout

Johnny Five (Washington, DC)

Are the Ortizs' going to make the team? Frankly, I'd rather have one of the young pitchers take the 5th spot in the rotation rather than having 34-36 year olds who haven't been quite reliable the past few years. Thoughts?

Tony Jackson
  (3:06 PM)

Johnny, you raise a great point, and I'm sure that's something the front office/coaching staff will take into consideration. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground with these guys, just the extreme ends of the spectrum. There are the two retreads (the Ortizes) and Carlos Monasterios, who has made all of one start at Double-A (plus one relief appearance) and otherwise has never pitched above Single-A. And then there are Eric Stults and Charlie Haeger, who frankly are probably the proverbial ''4A" guys. If the season started now, it would be Ramon Ortiz, but there is still plenty of time for him to fall on his face, so this race is far from decided. Stay tuned.

Jeremy (NY)

Any update on Belisario's arrival?

Tony Jackson
  (3:07 PM)

No update today, but if you followed the developments of yesterday, it turns out the DUI matter was resolved a week ago. If that was the final hurdle, he should be arriving any day now. But he didn't arrive today. Not yet anyway.

SprungOnSports (Long Island)

So much for the Eric Gagne comeback.

Tony Jackson
  (3:08 PM)

Well, it's not over yet. He could still make the team (highly unlikely) or he could agree to start the season in Triple-A and wait for a callup (probably 50/50 at best). He's just in a position where six weeks of spring training wasn't going to be enough to get him ready for big-league competition after he has been out for so long. But if I had to guess, I still think it's a long shot that you will see him pitch in the majors again.

kinbote (onhava, zembla)

Is Belliard really better defensively than DeWitt?

Tony Jackson
  (3:10 PM)

Yes, because he has more experience playing 2B. DeWitt is still a raw talent over there. But DeWitt also is younger and more durable, and they don't think Belliard can hold up if he plays there every day. Hard to believe at this point that DeWitt doesn't end up winning the job.

Todd (Berkeley, CA)

Hi Tony, I head that you felt Kershaw would be named opening day starter. Besides him being the best pitcher on staff, what else makes you think Joe will go with Clayton over Kuroda or Bills?

Tony Jackson
  (3:12 PM)

Well, if you look at the way the rotation has lined up this spring, and you assume that everybody stays on an every-fifth-day schedule, it looks like it's Kershaw for the opener and Bills for the home opener. CK is actually lined up to pitch in April 6, not April 5, but he'll probably go short in his final spring start, which is lined up for April 1 against the Indians, so he could easily come back on three days' rest against the Pirates. And Bills is lined up perfectly for April 7 (April 6 is an off-day), then April 13 (the home opener after another off-day on April 12).

Matt @DodgersFYI (LA)

Could Monasterios get a start before the end of ST? This kid continues to deal.

Tony Jackson
  (3:13 PM)

Matt, I think he probably will because they really need to see what he does against a team's ''A" lineup. What he has done this spring has been pretty impressive (eight innings, no runs, two hits), and he has been facing some real big-league hitters (Dickerson, Votto, Pierre, Konerko, Quentin, Andruw Jones). But most of what he has been facing in those late-inning appearances have been bench guys, prospects or roster fillers.

Damon (Corvallis, OR)

How do you see Dewitt doing this year?

Tony Jackson
  (3:14 PM)

Damon, I think he'll do fine offensively. Defensively, he's a definite step down from Orlando Hudson, and I do think he'll have some growing pains over there. But I also think you'll see him make some outstanding plays. He has the potential to be a solid second baseman, but it'll take him a year or two to really grow into the position.

Damon (Corvallis, OR)

I just named my fantasy baseball team "Owner of a Loney Hart" I hope James Loney has a breakout year

Tony Jackson
  (3:18 PM)

He will if Torre/Mattingly and co. don't pressure him to start hitting home runs -- which they have been doing for basically the past two years.

Dennis (Denver)

Best catcher in the NL West is...

Tony Jackson
  (3:20 PM)

My vote goes to Chris Iannetta for now. But if Russell Martin can ever get back to what he was in 2006 and 2007, the nod goes to him.

Matt @DodgersFYI (LA)

What is the word on Lindblom? If Belisario does not make it in time and Kuo is hurting, then Lindblom seems like a great candidate for late game power arm.

Tony Jackson
  (3:21 PM)

My understanding is they have pretty much ruled him out for the opening-day roster. I do think you'll see him in the majors sometime this year, though, and maybe even before September. ... Kuo is fine, by the way. He is loosely targeted to pitch an inning tomorrow night against the Pods.

Mike (Pasadena)

With Withrow getting slotted to pitch again tomorrow, any chance he is included in the race for #5 starter? Or at a minimum, should we be surprised if Withrow makes his LAD debut in 2010?

Tony Jackson
  (3:23 PM)

No chance of him making the team ... although it's worth noting that he has made six starts in Double-A, which is five more than Carlos Monasterios, who IS a fifth-starter candidate. Probably a long shot for seeing Withrow in the majors this year. Colletti tends to be very cautious about rushing starting pitchers to the majors, although Kershaw was a special case.

Tony Jackson
  (3:26 PM)

By the way, I should point out that the reason Eric Stephen of True Blue LA isn't on the chat asking his usual handful of questions is that he's sitting in front of me in the press box. I suppose he could just ask me the questions directly, and I could type them in.

Jonathan (Chico, CA)

Over/Under on Eric Stults making 5 starts for the big league club this year?

Tony Jackson
  (3:28 PM)

I'll go under, because I don't think he's going to be the fifth starter, he's out of options, and if they waive him, I do think some small-market team is going to snatch him up. He's cheap, has a tendency to be brilliant here and there (a CG shutout each of the past two years), and he's a good guy in the clubhouse as long as you're not depending on him to be a consistent, reliable presence in your rotation.

Matt @DodgersFYI (LA)

What is the early word on GA? Is there any chance with all of the super utility guys on the roster we could see both GA and Mientz?

Tony Jackson
  (3:30 PM)

Very little chance. I just don't think there is room for two of those guys on the roster, especially with Carroll and Belliard guaranteed spots. GA has looked fine, not spectacular but good enough. In the end, I think he'll get the nod, even though Mkz has pretty much proven that his shoulder isn't a factor throwing to second base -- and even though Mkz is hitting .353 with a .400 OBP this spring.

Billy (San Francisco)

Should the Giants be mildly concerned about Lincicum's stats during spring training?

Tony Jackson
  (3:31 PM)

Well, the short answer is no. If a guy isn't competing for a spot -- and Lincecum certainly isn't -- then they tend to approach spring-training games as simply a chance to get their work in and gradually build up their innings. Stats don't matter for guys like Lincecum. The only exception is when you have a guy like the Dodgers had in Jason Schmidt in the spring of 2007, when his velocity had dropped off noticeably. Then, it's a problem. But I don't think that's the case with Lincecum.

josh (san pedro)

over/under on number of elevators and press boxes you will be whining about this year?

Tony Jackson
  (3:33 PM)

well, I don't have a blog anymore, so I don't have an outlet for whining about the fact that the Dodgers still believe that the ballplayers to whom they pay millions and millions of dollars can't be inconvenienced for 5 seconds to allow the other five (or sometimes eight or sometimes 12) people on the elevator to get off on their respective floors before the elevator goes all the way to the basement to let the player off. So there you go.

Todd (Berkeley CA)

Whats the word on Belliard's weight? Did he make it to 209?

Tony Jackson
  (3:34 PM)

Haven't checked on that for a while, but I'm guessing no. I'm guessing we would have been told if he had. I'll try to remember to look into that this afternoon though. Thanks for the reminder.

josh (san pedro)

im still glad you're back on the beat.

Tony Jackson
  (3:35 PM)

you and me both, pal. I missed it far more than I ever thought I would.

Peter (Taiwan, ROC)

Hi! Tony, love your reports. How about Chin-Lung Hu? Does he have chance to make the team by back up role? How many options does Hu still left?

Tony Jackson
  (3:40 PM)

Peter, he has virtually no chance to make the opening-day roster because there are simply too many other guys in front of him who have his same skill set and have guaranteed big-league contracts. For some reason, he seems to have fallen off the radar, mostly because of the perception he can't hit, but he had a decent year offensively at Triple-A last year. As for options, I believe he has one option left, meaning the Dodgers will have to make a decision on him next spring. I can't see this guy passing through waivers unless he has a horrible season or gets hurt or something like that.

silverwidow (Pasadena)

Hey Tony. Do you think Carlos Santana would be the Dodgers' starting catcher if he was still in the organization? You can't hold that kind of offensive force back.

Tony Jackson
  (3:43 PM)

He would be as long as Russell Martin is out, and he would probably be putting a little more pressure on Russell to get back to what he once was. But I also don't think the Dodgers would have gone to the NLCS in 2008 and probably not in 2009 either if they hadn't acquired Casey Blake. Keep in mind that while Santana is one of the top prospects in baseball, he isn't there yet, and the Dodgers wouldn't have reaped any benefits thus far from having held onto him. The real final verdict on that trade is a few years away

Ryan (Jacksonville)

Wouldn't Carlos Santana be better served playing guitar before the game?

Tony Jackson
  (3:46 PM)

Ryan, that's almost as funny as all those Chin-lung Hu gags that we just never get tired of here in the press box.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What I mean is Who was the Last Dodger Pitcher to Win the World Series that put the Los Angeles Dodgers as the World Champions?

Tony Jackson
  (3:47 PM)

Well, the last World Series they won was 1988, and Hershiser was the winning pitcher in Game 5 of that series, which was the final game that clinched the title.

Magnus (Virginia)

If Loney gets hurt, do we have any way to fill that hole for more than a few games without a trade?

Tony Jackson
  (3:49 PM)

Well, you could stick Belliard there. Or you could stick Casey Blake there and put Jamey Carroll at third. Or, depending on how this grand spring-training experience goes, you could stick GA there. A trade would probably be the best solution, but the Dodgers wouldn't be so desperate to make one that they would have to give up the farm to get a serviceable first baseman.

Matt @DodgersFYI (LA)

I am gonna be at the game next Sat, should I get tickets before hand or at the gate? Where should I sit? And what is the time there right now? Arizona's time zoning confuses me to no end

Tony Jackson
  (3:53 PM)

Matt, the time thing confuses everybody, and it's far more confusing to those of us who are in Arizona where the time DOESN'T change. But to answer your question, Arizona is now on LA time, so that should be easy to remember. As for tickets, the attendance here has been pretty weak this spring, so you should be fine to walk up and buy them, but you might want to buy them in advance just to be sure. There is nothing to lose by doing so, as they're the smae price either way.

Harrison (Northridge, CA)

Hi Tony, my wife Jessica and I got to meet you the other morning at Camelback during the morning workouts.Any detailed update on Russell Martin and his injury?

Tony Jackson
  (3:54 PM)

Harrison, I remember you well, and it was great meeting and you and your lovely wife. No update on Martin, other than we spoke with him yesterday morning and he said he feels great. But keep in mind that at the time of his injury, Stan Conte told us that he would probably be feeling great very quickly, and that a player has to be very careful not to get fooled by that. The injury has to heal completely -- that's what takes four to six weeks -- before he is allowed back on the field. Russell will almost certainly begin the season on the DL unless there is some miracle.

silverwidow (Pasadena)

Why hasn't Javy Guerra been optioned yet? I wouldn't consider him a bullpen candidate in 2010.

Tony Jackson
  (3:56 PM)

Well, his number just hasn't come up yet. They still need guys to eat those late innings, so he still serves a purpose on the big-league side, plus he's getting valuable experience. He's a legit prospect, too, so this is time well spent for him and for the staff getting a chance to get a longer look at him. Don't worry, he'll be optioned soon enough.

Matt @DodgersFYI (LA)

What is going to happen with Elbert? He got optioned early. Is this to get him a head start on starting or did he just not come to camp not prepared at all?

Tony Jackson
  (3:59 PM)

He came in prepared, but he was dealing with some mechanical stuff. They just didn't like what they saw. He'll be back in the majors this year sometime, just not opening day

Tony Jackson
  (4:00 PM)

National anthem starting, so I'm going to cut this off one minute early. Thanks everybody. See you next week, same time, same channel