Scott Elbert will need to stop walking people or his future with the Dodgers will be as gloomy as the sky in this photo (Jed Jacobson | Getty Images Sport)
The Dodgers lost to the Royals today, 11-5 at Camelback Ranch, dropping their first home game of the spring, but the story of the game was the continuing control problems of Scott Elbert, who had a rough day on the mound.
With assistant GM of player development DeJon Watson in the broadcast booth with Charley Steiner, Elbert was missing the strike zone every which way. Elbert came in the game in relief of Jon Link in the fifth inning, then pitched into the sixth. Watson spoke of how Elbert got more consistent in his delivery over the winter, and was able to show two dominant pitches in the Arizona Fall League, but as those words were being spoken Elbert was missing the strike zone quite often. Elbert faced five batters, and walked four of them. He threw 21 pitches, only five of them for strikes.
On the broadcast, one could hear Watson rooting for Elbert, the Dodgers' 2009 minor league pitcher of the year, even as he was struggling. Watson said Elbert has great stuff that is "electric through the strike zone," and Watson seemed to take Elbert's outing in stride. "He’s having a tough outing today, but I think you’ll see better outings from Mr. Elbert in the future," Watson said. Elbert better hope so; he has faced 10 batters this spring, and walked six of them. He did strike out two, and the other two batters didn't hit the ball out of the infield, but Elbert needs to show some control before he even sniffs the 25-man roster.
Elbert was optioned last year on March 15, just 10 days after the first spring training game, and after just one appearance in a Cactus League game (he walked four in 1 1/3 innings) and another appearance in a "B" game (he walked one, struck out three, and gave up three runs in two innings).
- Juan Castro, vying for a bench spot, hit a three-run home run off Jeff Francis in the second inning
- Tim Redding pitched three more scoreless innings today, and in five innings this spring has allowed five hits and a walk, hasn't allowed a run, and has three strikeouts
- There was a funny moment in the fifth inning, when Mike Moustakas lofted a foul pop near the photography well adjacent to the back of the Dodger dugout. Aaron Miles was in pursuit of the ball, but Dee Gordon, who was not in the game and sitting on the steps of the dugout, tried to evade Miles by moving out of the dugout. Instead, Gordon got the way of Miles, who was unable to make the catch. Watson, who was in the booth with Charley Steiner, could be heard saying something like, "Jesus criminey" or something to that effect.
- The Dodgers play their first night game of the spring tomorrow against the Reds, in the second trip to Goodyear Ballpark in three days for the Dodgers. Hiroki Kuroda will make his second start of the spring in that game.