No team is built perfectly, but the makeup of this 2009 Los Angeles Dodger team is of Championship Caliber in my humble opinion! That’s a lot to say, but I am convinced that Ned has built a team that can be there right until the end.
Our hitting should be excellent this year, and even if we have player or two go down for an extended period, we have options. I am not convinced the Hudson will ever be the player he once was due to the severity of his wrist injury, but he is playing and that is positive. The point is – we have options (pick ‘em: Hu, Abreu, DeWitt, Loretta , Young? nah!). Even if Raffy went down, we have options (Hu, Castro, with Hudson or Kemp leading off), and with Juan Pierre as our 4th OF, we have lots of options. This team has a great deal of flexability and a plethora of interchangeable parts. The main part that we can’t replace is obviously Manny, but other than that , we should be fine. I am predicting “breakout” years from some of our young players, including Ethier, Kemp, Martin, Kershaw and Broxton. Kershaw is mastering his new changeup and is getting better day-by-day with it. As Tony Jackson reports in the Daily News today, our starting pitching may actually be one of our strengths, not a weakness. Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com summarizes the State of the Dodgers pitching.
- Erick Threets felt something in his shoulder and had to be removed from the game and infielder Doug Mientkiewicz hurt his quadriceps coming out of the batter’s box after hitting a ground ball to second base. Both are out for several days and may have hurt their chances to make the club.
- Delwyn Young is playing himself back on the team.
- Hu continues to make a case for the Dodgers to keep him.
- DeWitt is making a case to be sent down.
- Elbert was sick and lost 8 pounds – he’s now in the running for situational LH in the pen.
- Schmidt’s next pitching day will be revealing – he’s supposed to start Monday and if he faulters, I would say that Eric Milton may get the nod. Milton actually has been pretty good.
- If Schmidt doesn’t get the #5 spot, I look for him to be sent to AAA for a rehab assignment. He needs to pitch…. and not out of the pen.
- Justin Orenduff cleared waivers and will probably start the season at AAA.
- Clayton Kershaw looks ready to dominate.
- Russ Martin has made the team!
- By Tuesday, I think we will have at least 23 roster locks – I’ll publish my list then.