The Dodgers opened camp, officially, on Tuesday as pitchers and catchers reported to Camelback Ranch. The morning, though unseasonably icy in Glendale, started off on the right foot, as the press room in the Dodgers offices was lined with old Sports Illustrated covers.
My personal favorite of this group is the August 5, 1985 issue, with Pedro Guerrero on the cover after the hottest stretch of his career.
Guerrero hit a major league record with 15 home runs in the month of June, then followed that up by hitting .460 in August. In 45 games over those two months in 1985, Guerrero hit .391/.489/.833 with 19 home runs, 39 RBI, and 52 runs scored, on his way to getting jobbed out of the National League MVP award by Willie McGee.
The clubhouse opened at 9 a.m. MT, which allowed us to not only talk to six of the eight starting pitchers in camp, but also see this new photo right in front of the players' entrance.
The new coat of blue paint is all over the Dodgers offices (though not yet the media room), which as a Dodgers public relations person noted was just like the club's new "A whole new blue" marketing campaign for this season.
Anyway, after a day of realizing that going from four months with almost no transcribing to day full of it is a shock to the system (cry me a river, I know), here are some miscellaneous notes from the first day at Camelback Ranch:
- Catching up on some stray uniform numbers, Peter Moylan is No. 76, Jesus Flores is No. 70, Mark Lowe No. 28, and Kevin Gregg No. 77. The updated spring training roster, all 59 deep, is here.
- Though position players aren't required to report to camp until Friday, there were several at Camelback Ranch on Tuesday, including Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Luis Cruz, Dee Gordon, and Elian Herrera.
- Hyun-jin Ryu is a big thing back home in Korea, which would explain the over 20 reporters here just to cover him. Ryu was asked at his introductory press conference if he was particularly impressed with one of his teammates. The first name Ryu mentioned was Cruz, who downloaded a Korean translation application to his phone and has been texting Ryu in his native language.
- Another moment of levity of the Ryu coverage came when Ryu was asked to recall something funny from a specific incident that he said to a teammate. Ryu couldn't remember what he said, but turned to translator Martin Kim and said, "You were there Martin. Don't you remember?" Kim quipped back, "How do you know it wasn't I who was the funny one?"
- Manager Don Mattingly called utility man his "four corners guy," and not in reference to Hairston's love of basketball. Mattingly said Hairston's primary positions this year will be at the corners, with time at third base, first base, left field, and right field.
- Relief pitcher Scott Elbert, who had a second arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow on Jan. 23, is three to four weeks behind schedule, per general manager Ned Colletti, who estimated Elbert's return to be at the end of April.
- Mattingly said Alex Castellanos will get more time in the outfield during spring training, including center field. The Dodgers tried to develop Castellanos at second and third base in 2012 in Albuquerque, and may continue to do so in the minors, but Mattingly said, "Primarily in this camp, for me, we're going to see him more in the outfield.
- Chalk up karma points for Chad Billingsley, who when asked his thoughts on the new batting practice caps said, "The gray ones, I don't know." Right answer, Chad.
- I spotted a locker in the clubhouse with a No. 54 Oropesa jersey and wondered: (a) did the Dodgers sign 41-year-old former big league pitcher Eddie Oropesa, who last pitched in 2004?; and (b) did he take Javy Guerra's number? Well, it turns out it is Eddie Oropesa, and he'll be in camp to mentor fellow Cuban Yasiel Puig. It makes sense, as Oropesa's locker is next to Puig's. Guerra, it should be noted, is still number 54.