We’ll be getting these up on a daily basis moving forward (straight from the Dodgers’ PR department):
INTO THE SWING OF THINGS:On the third day of full-squad workouts, left-hander Clayton Kershaw threw a live batting practice session, facing teammates Carl Crawford, Luis Cruz, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez, Jerry Hairston, Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe. In addition to Kershaw, Stephen Fife, Matt Guerrier, Matt Magill and Shawn Tolleson all threw their first live BP sessions of spring.
LISTEN CAREFULLY: Along with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, Sandy Koufax, who was sporting his class No. 32 Dodger BP jersey, spent time working with members of the Dodger pitching staff in the bullpen area, including an extended chat with Josh Beckett. After joining the club in late August, the right-hander posted a 2.93 ERA (14 ER/43.0 IP) in seven starts with Los Angeles.
BIRTHDAY BOYS: The Dodgers would like to wish a very happy birthday to coach Manny Mota (75) and assistant hitting coach John Valentin (46). Mota is entering 34th season as a coach with the Dodgers and 2013 marks his 44th year with Los Angeles after a playing career that spanned parts of 13 seasons with the club. The Santo Domingo, DR native will embark on his fourth season as a broadcaster for PRIME TICKET as a Spanish broadcaster. Valentin is entering his first season on the Major League staff and sixth season in the Dodger organization, after spending last year as the Triple-A Albuquerque hitting coach. Under Valentin’s tutelage last year, the Isotopes ranked among the Pacific Coast League team batting leaders in average (.298, T-1st), runs (842, 2nd), hits (1,495, 2nd), triples (58, T-1st), slugging percentage (1st, .471) and OPS (.832, 1st). Happy birthday, Manny and John!
- Mota hit .304 during his 20-year Major League career with San Francisco (1962), Pittsburgh (1963-68), Montreal (1969) and the Dodgers (1969-80, 82) while becoming baseball’s all-time pinch-hit leader with 150, a mark since broken by Lenny Harris and Mark Sweeney.
- Valentin played the majority of his career with the Boston Red Sox as a shortstop from 1992-2001. A veteran of 11 Major League seasons, Valentin is the only player in Major League history to complete an unassisted triple play (July 8, 1994 vs. Seattle Mariners) and hit for the cycle (June 6, 1996 vs. Chicago White Sox). He won the American League Silver Slugger award at shortstop in 1995 and belted three homers in the 1999 AL Division Series to lead Boston over the Cleveland Indians. He yielded the reigns of shortstop to former Los Angeles Dodger Nomar Garciaparra in 1997, converting to a second baseman and eventually shifting to third base after a season-ending injury to starter Tim Naehring. Valentin spent three more seasons with the Red Sox before ending his career with the Mets.
FOR THE CAUSE: Today and tomorrow, Dodger players and coaches will sign more than 400 jerseys, 32 bats, 120 dozen baseballs and hundreds of photos, which will be donated to various charities throughout the Los Angeles community.
THIS DAY IN DODGER HISTORY: On February 18, 1999, the United States Postal Service issues a second stamp commemorating the career and accomplishments Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson as part of the “Celebrating the Century” series. Robinson’s stamp represents the 1940s when the infielder broke baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The first Robinson stamp was issued in 1982 as part of the Postal Service’s Black Heritage series
COULD BE LEGENDARY: Dodger alumni Ron Cey, Tim Leary, Fernando Valenzuela, Maury Wills and Steve Yeager will help celebrate a new season of Cactus League play next weekend at Camelback Ranch – Glendale’s inaugural Legends Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 23-24. Former greats from both the Dodgers and White Sox franchises will be on hand to sign autographs and greet fans from 11:30 am-12:30 pm before being introduced in pregame ceremonies for the club’s first Cactus League game at Camelback Ranch – Glendale against the White Sox at 1:05 pm on Saturday, Feb. 23.
GETTING SOCIAL: One of the best ways to stay connected with the Dodgers during Spring Training (#DodgersST) is on social media with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and earlier this year, the club launched a program to reward those dedicated fans interacting with the club online, via social media and at Dodger Stadium. For more information on the Dodgers Rewards program and to sign up to be entered to win great prizes, including Opening Day tickets and autographed baseballs, fans can visit DodgersRewards.com.
Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC 2013