An Extra Outfielder Might Not Be A Central Issue

We know, thanks to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com earlier this week, that the Dodgers are looking to add a lefty-hitting fourth outfielder.  That news probably tells you all you need to know about Xavier Paul's chances of making the club, at least out of spring training.  Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness did a good job the other day breaking down the potential candidates to fill that need. 

One would think this fourth outfielder would need to have the ability to play centerfield, given that neither Manny Ramirez nor Andre Ethier seem candidates to fill in for Matt Kemp if needed.  Otherwise, the club would presumably have to carry five outfielders (think Jason Repko) unless Kemp wants to pull a Cal Ripken and not miss an inning in 2010.  

However, the Dodgers don't appear to be necessarily looking for someone who could play centerfield.  First, a commenter on Dodger Thoughts (scroll down to Ryan Francis at 3:32pm) said he, while at the "Select-A-Seat" event for season ticket holders on Thursday, saw Brian Giles running sprints in the outfield At Dodger Stadium.  Joe Bick, the agent for Giles, declined comment, but what is known is that Giles is not a centerfielder (having played eight total innings there in the last four seasons). 

Then on Friday, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reported the Dodgers and Angels "could be in play" for Garret Anderson.  The last time Anderson played centerfield was 2004.  This is all speculation of course, but don't be surprised if the Dodgers break camp with five outfielders.  Maybe this will goad Tom Meagher into reviving his "Fifth Outfielder" blog!

At any rate, the number of available southpaw outfielders has decreased by one, as Frank Catalanotto has signed a minor league deal with the Mets.

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Here are some other Dodger-related links to tide you over on a Saturday:

Sparta's Belcher set for tough job with Tribe | marionstar.com | The Marion Star
A look at former Dodger Tim Belcher, set to be the new pitching coach of the Indians, by his hometown newspaper. Belcher's competitive nature was recalled:

"Belcher had a little bit of a temper," Underwood said with a wry grin. "(Hall-of-Famer) Eddie Murray once told me that when they were teammates in L.A. Tim flipped over a couple of tables after a game and the next day Eddie hung a Tazmanian Devil T-shirt in Tim's locker. From then on, Eddie called him 'Taz.' "

Belcher was acquired in 1987 in a trade with the A's for current Dodger pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. Honeycutt set the LA Dodger record for consecutive losses that year, with 11. The 33-year old Honeycutt would go on to pitch well out of the bullpen in Oakland for a few years, but I like the Dodger side of that trade of future pitching coaches.

There have been 63 pitchers, including Belcher, in the 126-year history of the Dodgers to make 100 starts for the franchise.  Belcher's 118 ERA+ ranks 13th, higher than Lords of the Ravine candidates Orel Hershiser, Don Sutton, and Fernando Valenzuela, among others.

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Blake family to donate $1 million to Indianola schools | indianolarecordherald.com | Indianola Record Herald
More hometown news, this time about a current Dodger, Casey Blake, donating money to his old school district:

Indianola native Casey Blake, a third baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and his wife Abbie will donate $1 million to the of Indianola Community School District in a ceremony Monday, Feb. 1. "As graduates and former athletes of Indianola, we believe in the potential of the youth in our community and want to help provide them with facilities to develop their skills," Casey Blake said.

 

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Georgia Historical Society honors baseball great Jackie Robinson | savannahnow.com
Jackie Robinson, who was born in Cairo, Georgia, will be honored next week during the 2010 Georgia Days celebration. NPR host Scott Simon, who wrote "Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball," will lead a lecture on Robinson.

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Blue Heaven: Ultimate Dodgers
Ernest Reyes takes a look at some Dodger autographed baseball cards, but I mostly just enjoy that Kemp signed one of the cards with "Go Dodgers" below his name.

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