Vicente Padilla: 7th and 8th inning guy, long-man, spot-starter and closer. He would have filled an important role in the pen. He could have closed if Broxton faltered (knock on wood that won’t happen), or he would have been the 6th starter if one of the Big Five went down. It ain’t happening though. Surgery tomorrow and while it’s his forearm, it is surgery and he could be back before the All-Star Break, after the All-Star Break, back next year or his career could be over. You never know once they start cutting. I wish him A SPEEDY RECOVERY and have every reason to believe he will be back this year (fingers crossed).
Ned was proud that he put together a rotation six starters deep. Evidently, it wasn’t deep enough, and that begs the question – who will be the Sixth Starter? Jon Wiseman at Dodger Thoughts has an eloquent summary of the candidates… and the answer is: Who the heck knows? Ely? Monasterios? De La Rosa? Redding? I think he forgot Jeff Weaver, and I can understand why, but Jeff might be the best option. He seems to have a good year every two or three years. At any rate, I think the 6th starter will come from the minors. If the Dodgers need one, he’ll probably come from AAA. Let’s hope that the team goes through the season and each starter will start AT LEAST 31 GAMES! Yeah, that’s the ticket! No likely though. I guess you can never really have enough pitching.
Steve Dilbeck of The LA Times pretty well summarizes what the current pecking order is in the Dodgers pen:
If the Dodgers open the season with seven relievers, locks are Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, Matt Guerrier, and now, probably Blake Hawksworth.
Kenley Jansen, whom the Dodgers might have been tempted to start the season at triple-A to hone his still raw closing skills, now appears in a good position to make the season-opening 25-man roster.
Which at the very least still leaves two positions open. And there is always the possibility the Dodgers might temporarily elect to start the season with eight relievers.
That leaves an open field for the rest of the contenders — Ramon Troncoso, Ron Mahay, Lance Cormier, Scott Elbert, Mike MacDougal, Jon Link, and later, Eveland. And if they wanted a long reliever, Carlos Monasterios or John Ely.
The season is young. There’s a lot of things that need to happen first. Let’s settle in and watch. At least, the Dodgers aren’t losing their Ace. It looks like the Cards are facing that. Too bad for Adam Wainright. Awesome pitcher….
Tony Jackson of ESPN/LosAngeles has a piece on James Loney which James says:
I want to get better. The key to making your game better is driving the ball. My job isn’t necessarily to hit more homers. … People who know baseball say hitting home runs is really all about getting bat speed and catching the ball in just the right spot.”
It turns out that Loney flew to Camelback Ranch twice over the winter to work with Jeff Pentland and feels he is making progress. Time will tell, but it sounds promising and I like the fact that he spent time over the winter working on it.
Tony also has details on upcoming games.