Los Angeles Dodgers Impressive in Opening Spring Act
The Dodgers provided plenty of offense for starter Vicente Padilla, who pitched two scoreless innings while not allowing a hit or yielding a walk. Manny Ramirez looked sharp, going 2-for-3 and making solid contact. Padilla, having been acquired just before the trade deadline last season, came over to the National League amid concerns he was declining in his MLB career.
Padilla showed immediate success last season, and it was an uplifting sign for Dodgers fans as he faced an American League team and showed little rust from the offseason.
In regards to pitching, the Dodgers were impressive. The White Sox could only scratch across three runs, primarily off Dodgers prospects that figure to start the season in the minor leagues. Ramon Ortiz looked revitalized and strong. In his two innings of work he recorded three strike outs and recorded a hold.
Charlie Haeger, one of the names under competition for the fifth starter position in the Dodgers' rotation threw one inning of less-than-impressive ball, surrendering one run and a walk.
The Dodgers did well at the plate. Reed Johnson, a recent acquisition from the free agent market and likely fourth outfielder, drove in two runs, but had a mishap in left field. Johnson will primarily be used to replace Manny Ramirez in left field as his aging legs get worn down from the pounding of a full season.
As for the three-horse race for the left-handed bat off the bench, two of those horses never left the starting gate. Brian Giles is still nursing a sore knee, and newly acquired Garret Anderson wasn't able to be in uniform before gametime—he reported just hours before the game was scheduled to start.
Doug Mientkiewicz entered the game in a pinch-hitting role for DH Manny Ramirez and walked. He also collected an RBI without recording a base hit. Fans can be sure that competition will heat up, but don't expect Mientkiewicz to do a lot of throwing while recovering from a dislocated shoulder, and don't expect Giles to fill a role that requires mobility.
The final area of concern for the Dodgers, an every day second baseman, got no clearer following the first game of the Spring. Jamey Carrol played third base in place of projected every day starter Casey Blake. He walked, collected an RBI and scored a run. Blake DeWitt was 1 for 2 and also scored a run, Belliard did not play.
The next Spring Training episode for the Dodgers will be tomorrow, March 6, as the Dodgers will again take on the Chicago White Sox at 12:05 PST. The White Sox will send a split squad to face the Dodgers with the other half of the team facing the Cubs at the same time.
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