The Dodgers are in two places at once today, with part of the team in Surprise to face the Kansas City Royals, and the rest, including most of the regular starting lineup, at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium to battle the Chicago White Sox in a game that will benefit the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation, to honor the memory of the daughter of Dodgers scout John Green, and granddaughter of Dallas Green. Christina-Taylor Green was slain on January 8, 2011.
"We're overwhelmed by the support of baseball," John Green said. "The baseball family is a small one. We are all competitive and we all try to beat each other on the field, but when something like this happens I think it's a wonderful thing for our community to come together."
"I'm excited to be in Tucson because of John, and because I played for Dallas. It's something that we should be involved with," manager Don Mattingly said. "It's one of those games that's not really a problem coming to at all. It feels good, and it feels like it's the right thing, to just keep that memory alive."
Mattingly said he still uses a daily throwing program he learned from Dallas Green, from when Green managed the Yankees in 1989. It is a daily regimen that involves everybody playing catch for three minutes from 60 feet, then three minutes from 90 feet, three minutes from 120 feet, two minutes from 150 feet, then one minute of throwing the ball back and forth while coming closer together.
"It feels like a marathon I'm sure to those guys, and it felt like a marathon to me when I was going through it. But around the middle of the season my arm used to hurt every year, but that year it didn't," Mattingly said. "It's one of the things I wanted to make sure I built into spring training."
Even though he knew he would have enough players willing to make the trip to Tucson on Friday, Mattingly decided to have some fun with his selection process, which he dubbed Tucsonology. Mattingly wanted to bring two regular infielders, two regular outfielders, two reserves, and a catcher.
"There are different guys I know would have come, but I thought it would be fun, right around NCAA tournament time," said Mattingly.
A.J. Ellis volunteered to go, and he chose Dee Gordon to join him. The next names were drawn from a hat, with each person drawn getting to choose someone else. Juan Rivera's name was drawn first, and Rivera chose Matt Kemp. Mark Ellis was drawn next, and he picked Andre Ethier. Jerry Hairston Jr. volunteered to go because his parents live in Tucson, and the players convened to choose the final member, which was Tony Gwynn Jr.
The Dodgers will have decisions to make in the next week with some of their non-roster invitees. Pitchers Jamey Wright and John Grabow, both competing for that final bullpen spot, have out clauses in their contracts that need to be exercised by Sunday. If the clauses get exercised, the Dodgers then have until Friday, March 30 to add them to the active roster or they can become free agents.
Catcher Josh Bard also has an opt-out date of March 30.
In Tucson, the Dodgers brought their top young arms on the trip. Zach Lee, Allen Webster, Chris Reed, Ethan Martin, Angel Sanchez, and Shawn Tolleson are all scheduled to pitch. In all, the Dodgers brought 18 minor leaguers on the trip, including Kyle Russell, Jake Lemmerman, and Brian Cavazos-Galvez. The reserves consist of those 18 players, and Tim Federowicz, who is still in major league camp.
Game Time: 1:05 p.m (both games)
Radio: None, though the Royals' broadcast of the game in Surprise can be heard through MLB Gameday Audio