Sounds Like Russell Martin is Ready For Action

Dodgers (9-11-2) at Reds (9-11-2)

1:05pm, Goodyear Ballpark, Goodyear, AZ

Russell Martin is in Goodyear today with the Dodgers, but he won't be playing with the major league squad against the Reds.  He caught four innings in a minor league game Thursday, caught six more innings Friday, took a scheduled off day yesterday, and is scheduled to catch seven innings in a minor league game today, against the Indians.  Martin is also expected to catch in the exhibition games in Los Angeles later this week, which is an important development.  "The latest he would catch in a Major League game is Thursday," said manager Joe Torre, "He's not happy about being on the minor league side."  By catching in only minor league games, Martin could start a disabled list stint as early as March 26.  However, catching in any major league spring training games will push forward the start date of any DL trip, if needed.  That leads me to believe Russell Martin won't be placed on the disabled list, and will instead be on the opening day roster.

The Dodgers have played 22 Cactus League games so far, and 14 of them have been at Camelback Ranch, including one "road" contest against the White Sox.  The regulars have had an overwhelming majority of their Cactus League playing time at their home park.  Here's a look at the likely opening day lineup, using A.J. Ellis and catcher, and their spring stats:

Player CBR G/PA Road G/PA
Furcal 12/36 6/18
Kemp 12/36 6/17
Ethier 13/39 6/16
Manny 10/28 3/8
Loney 10/32 3/10
Blake 11/31 5/12
DeWitt 12/31 6/22
Ellis 10/20 7/20

Keep in mind that both Manny Ramirez and James Loney went to Taiwan, missing three home and three road games, so their Cactus League numbers are even more skewed toward Camelback Ranch.  Here are some trivial spring training splits for your review:

  • Blake DeWitt has reached base in 15 of 31 plate appearances at Camelback Ranch
  • Rafael Furcal has four hits in 32 at-bats at CBR, and five hits in 15 at-bats everywhere else
  • A.J. Ellis has reached base in 11 of 20 plate appearances on the road this spring
  • Andre Ethier has the same number of hits (seven) at home as on the road, but has had 18 fewer at-bats on the road (16 vs. 34)

The Dodgers' next three games are on the road, starting today in Goodyear to face the Reds.  Last weekend when asked how Ronnie Belliard was doing defensively at first base, Torre said, "if you can play the middle of the infield, you can play first," and added Miguel Cairo, primarily a second baseman who played for Torre for parts of three seasons in New York, was one of the best first basemen he has ever seen.  Cairo, who signed a minor league deal with Cincinnati this offseason, is playing first base for the Reds today.

Here are the lineups:for

Dodgers      Reds
SS Furcal CF Stubbs
CF Kemp SS Janish
RF Ethier 2B Phillips
LF Manny 3B Francisco   
1B Loney RF Balentien
3B Blake LF Nix
2B DeWitt 1B Cairo
C Ellis C Hanigan
P Kershaw      
P Arroyo

Ramon Troncoso, Luis Ayala, Justin Miller, and Ramon Ortiz are also scheduled to pitch today for the Dodgers.  Ortiz is pitching on back-to-back days for the first time this spring.

Hiroki Kuroda is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game Monday afternoon at Camelback Ranch against the Reds.  Chad Billingsley is scheduled to pitch tomorrow night, again in Goodyear, this time against the Indians.  Following Billingsley will be Jeff Weaver, Jonathan Broxton, and George Sherrill.

Aroldis Chapman will pitch for the Reds today, but in a minor league game, as he is recovering from back spasms.

If you haven't had a chance to read CoolGuy_88888888's wonderful and labor-intensive profiles of his top 200 Dodger prospects, you are missing out.  He provided a summary recap here.

No TV today, but it will be on 790 KABC and the Dodger Radio Network

Wednesday's split squad game against the Reds in Las Vegas will be televised by Prime Ticket.  The 7:05pm game will feature Vin Scully behind the microphone, and Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Casey Blake, Blake DeWitt, and A.J. Ellis, among others, on the field.

Gameday

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