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Few quick links

Jon Weisman reports via Josh Rawitch:

In a procedural move, the Dodgers released Eric Milton from his minor-league contract and then re-signed him, according to Dodger vice president of communications Josh Rawitch. The double transaction effectively dealt with the option in his contract that would have allowed Milton to leave the organization earlier this month.

As I mentioned earlier the time for the Dodgers to promote him or release was coming fast. This means they have negotiated with Milton to stick around.

True Blue poster BHSPORTSGUY was a guest columnist at Dodger Thoughts and provided the insight into Rachel Robinson Day at UCLA this past weekend. From the time I first read Jackie Robinson's autobiography when I was a tiny tot, Rachel Robinson has been a real hero to me. The fact I actually  met her last year at the coliseum game was the highlight of a special event.

Correction - JJ24 has informed me that I didn't meet Rachel Robinson last year but Delano Robinson the widow of Mack Robinson (Jackie's brother) who was quite an athlete in his own right. For some reason that news makes the whole day make more sense. Without editors sometimes these mistakes will happen and I appreciate it when our posters let us know we erred because you are our editors.

FNC profiles Brent Leach

SOSG getting treatment for Manny

Baseball HQ with some tidbits on a struggling Furcal:

He is hitting only .246 with one homer and three steals. Bad luck, or bad hitting?

Year   AB  Avg  xBA  bb% ct% h%   Eye   PX  SX   G/L/F    
==== === === === == == == ==== === === ========
2007 581 .270 .263 9 88 30 0.81 52 116 50/19/32
2008 143 .357 .324 12 88 38 1.18 130 136 49/19/32
2009 126 .246 .227 9 81 30 0.50 47 89 47/18/34
No bad luck here: Furcal's poor numbers are completely deserved. He hasn't gotten hot once; it's been one mediocre week after another. It could be that last year's big start (138 PX) went to Furcal's head. According to manager Joe Torre, Furcal needs to get back to basics: "I think he just tries to get too big [with his swing]. He just needs to put the ball in play and use his hands." Torre added that Furcal has been trying to drive the ball, but it's not working: Furcal has only six extra-base hits. It looks like Furcal will have to forget about hitting 20 homers, and go back to doing what he does best: get on base, steal some bases

And on Matt Kemp:

275, four homers, 23 RBI, 19 runs, and eight steals -- mostly from the seventh spot in the lineup. Let's see if there's any improvement in skills behind those numbers.

Year   AB  Avg  xBA  bb% ct% h%   Eye   PX  SX    G/L/F    vL  vR 
==== === === === == == == ==== === === ======== === ===
2007* 453 .323 .278 5 80 38 0.22 113 132 45/17/37 .390 .318
2008 606 .290 .269 7 75 36 0.36 119 133 45/23/32 .369 .260
2009 120 .275 .264 9 73 35 0.36 139 157 47/16/38 .308 .266
*Includes MLEs

Yes, there are a few BPI gains which we'd love to see carry through the entire season:

  • Higher walk rate. Kemp is getting better at pitch selection: he's seeing an average of 4.18 pitches per plate appearance, up from 3.72 last year and 3.52 the year before.
  • More power + a higher flyball rate. The combination of PX 139 and FB 38 could mean 30 homers over a full season. 30 is really the high end of what we'd expect for him, but the skills are there to do it.
  • Improved speed. Kemp is 7-for-8 in steal attempts. Last year, his success rate was 76 percent.
The final piece in the Kemp puzzle is for him to improve his average vs. righties. So far, he hasn't, but if he ever figures that out, he'll hit .300.