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Some good off-season news for Dodgers: Ronald Belisario and Dee Gordon tear up winter leagues

And now for a little something to warm your Dodgers winter of discontent ...

Far from Los Angeles and the hot stove league and all of the second-guessing over moves made and not made, a couple of Dodgers are having themselves a lovely winter playing ball.

Reliever Ronald Belisario, whose earned-run average bloated to a stunning 5.04 last season, has been dominant in the Venezuelan Winter League, and shortstop Dee Gordon was leading the Puerto Rico Winter League in runs before returning home this month.

Through Dec. 26, Belisario was leading the Venezuelan Winter League in saves with 14. He was 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 15 strikeouts and four walks in 18 innings.

That’s a lot more like the 2009 version of Belisario the Dodgers saw, when he went 4-3 with a 2.04 ERA in 69 games.

Gordon was the Dodgers’ minor league player of the year in 2009 after a sterling season at Class-A Great Lakes. He slipped slightly at double-A Chattanooga last season, but he was on a tear this winter.

He played 33 games for Carolina in the Puerto Rican league, appearing in his last game Dec. 14 before he returned to Florida to begin a weight-lifting program.

In Puerto Rico he was hitting .361 with 26 runs with six triples and eight steals (15 attempts). Gordon told The Times' Kevin Baxter that he worked with minor league hitting instructor Gene Clines on becoming more patient at the plate as well on hand placement before he headed to Puerto Rico.

"We learned an approach, a good approach for me being a leadoff hitter," Gordon told Baxter. "Just see more pitches, work the count more and be able to come back and tell my teammates what kind of pitches the pitcher is throwing on that day.

"Definitely I'm going to be able to use it. It wasn’t a big change that I had to [make]. It was easy, the transition. I kept it up for two months, so I think I’ll be OK."

Gordon’s defense, however, remains a work in progress. After committing 37 errors in 133 games at Chattanooga last season, he had 13 more in Puerto Rico.

"That was one of my biggest things that I went to Puerto Rico to learn -- to slow the game down," he said. "All the fields there are turf, so the ball comes at you quicker. In the minor leagues I was rushing through the baseball a little bit, making a few senseless errors.

"And some of those guys, they showed me hey, you don’t have to make a spectacular play every time. You don’t have to force it. I learned a ton down there."

Gordon is one of 16 minor leaguers the Dodgers have invited to a developmental mini-camp Jan. 7-15 at Dodger Stadium.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Comments () | Archives (15)

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Beautiful. Now let's see if Belisario can show up to camp on time and sober.

Hey, maybe the Blue could move Gordon to left....why not he is making all kinds of errors in the infield!!

If it's Friday then it must be time for a cup of Joe... just the facts.

"Dee Gordon"

- hype meets reality: Jerry Royster / Wilton Guerrero, part deux. Guererro was already an MLB'r semi-regular at age 22, while Royster was an full-time starter age 23. AA Gordon will turn 23 in April 2011.

Which is to say not bad but far from great; alas, we've already too much of the former/too little the latter. As the Dodgers have done time immemorial and continue today, unfair expectations are placed some players, i.e., DG.

The tough critique: Pee Wee Herman strength, fast tho not wondrously adept vis a vis application least to this point, fielding prowess something more akin one-handed juggler than octopus (think Offerman...and dream of nightmare.)

'When you wish upon a star'... think Anaheim, not Cooperstown.

"eight steals (15 attempts)"

- has kemp been tutoring him? Seriously, while it's great to have Davey Lopes back in LA, we have for years now had Maury Wills to provide tutelage, and if his expertise isn't the ticket then Lopes, Henderson & Brock would not suffice either, likely. Ultimately, I imagine he'll enjoy success somewhere between an Herb Washington and Tim Raines - a wide latitude/room to grow.

"After committing 37 errors in 133 games at Chattanooga last season, he had 13 more in Puerto Rico"

- he's not getting older, he's becoming more experienced: 37 in 133 games + 13 in 33 games = 50 in 166. Offerman made 50 errors in the minor leagues one year but brought that down to just 42 in LA 3 years later (he got better: only 37 the next year age 24.) Well, at least I can tabulate.

Upshot: We are desperate for a star, but I just don't see it.

Da, da-dah-da. Da, da-dah-da-dahhh...

Thanks for some good news... Happy New Year!

Belasario's arm will be nice and tired when the MLB season starts. There's just so many innings he has to throw in a given year.

Gordon is great news I think he'll polish up the fielding in due time. He should make an excellent lead off batter when the time comes.
Just make sure Belisario can find his way back to the US.

Keep in mind Jimmy Rollins made 50 errors in the minors leagues. He can work with Davey Lopes back in the system and work with a few others. If his dad can offer him advice he will be just fine.........

We would be happy to help the Dodgers make sure Belisario boards the plane on time to the USA.

Good news? yeah, why not?
I'm sure that Belisario's arm has an infinite number of innings in it ...

This is all well and good, but Loney, Ethier, and Kemp still need another big bat in the lineup. Teams should get smart and develop minor league players instead of spending fortunes on free agents. The Dodgers should establish a baseball academy that teaches baseball skills to specific player needs year-round. Baseball needs to go beyond minor league baseball training. Get skill specific training. Make the players work instead of having them sit in the dugout most of the time.

This is fabulous news. I'm sure Neddy will be turn this around by the end of July and find some mediocre AAA leftfielder in the Pirates or Cubs organization as a trade partner for Gordon (whom we can subsequently release at season's end), and we'll be in business.

When do the Dodgers get a left fielder??

The main questions about Belisario are:

1. Does he have a visa to enter the country?

2. Is he staying off the sauce?

Until those are answered, it really doesn't matter if he is a combination of Bob Feller and Bob Gibson in winter league.

The Duke Ellington hit 'It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing' can be phrased " It don't mean a thing if it gots that winter ball swing'.

no secret that Gordon -- soon to be known simply as "EE" (with the "D" being dropped, as there's no "D" with him playing SS, butt plety of E's) --
is NOT any major league SS...........

best to be moved to 2B, butt alas!!!.........they've already had to make that move with one of the 2 is shaping up as trade bait, unless DeJesus can handle 3B, butt he likley laX the pop-in-his-bat to play there @ major league level?????


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