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Category: Josh Lindblom

Predicting the Dodgers' season: Take it to the bank

Kershaw_292 Here are 25 things I absolutely guarantee will happen with the Dodgers this season. If they do, be sure to sing my praises. If they don’t, I never wrote a word of it:

1) Clayton Kershaw (pictured at right) really will emerge as an ace. And he’s left-handed and just turned 22.

2) Before the season is out, Matt Kemp will be romantically linked to Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian and Kate Gosselin.

3) Blake DeWitt will go through a slump by mid-May, Joe Torre will send him back to the minors and play Ronnie Belliard and Jamey Carroll, which is what I sensed he always really wanted.

4) Ronald Belisario will be called up before the month is out. And then not be admitted to Dodger Stadium by a security card because he forgot his ID.

5) The elephant in the ballpark, the McCourt Divorce, will only grow as a distracting story. No one in management will really say what they’re thinking: His failure to land another starting pitcher will cost us the pennant.

6) Casey Blake will grow his beard back the first time he goes into a slump.

7) Vicente Padilla will go the entire season without starting a bean war or turning his teammates against him. Risky, I know, but going with my gut.

8) When the Giants come to town, mental midgets without an ounce of creativity in their souls will continue to chant "Giants suck" and think it’s really clever.

9) Jason Repko will land with another team, be called up by May and prove a valuable fourth outfielder on a contending team. OK, I’m really not predicting this, just hoping.

10) Manny Ramirez won’t last the week without finally talking to the media again. Coincidentally, he returns to form at the plate.

11) Jamie McCourt will buy a ticket to a game at Dodger Stadium and then ask Frank McCourt for additional spousal support to cover the cost.

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Right-hander Josh Lindblom named Dodgers' top spring rookie

Impressive right-hander Josh Lindblom was named Monday the top rookie in the Dodgers camp this spring.

The Jim and Dearie Mulvey Award is given annually to the Dodgers’ best spring-training rookie.

The award previously was voted on by Dodgers media, but with their number dwindling, it’s now voted upon by the coaching staff.

Lindblom was impressive for the second consecutive spring. The 6-foot-4 Lindblom actually appeared in only two spring games, striking out seven in four innings pitched with a 4.50 ERA.

The Indiana native, however, also accompanied the team to Taiwan. He is expected to start the season at Triple-A Albuquerque.

Lindblom was a second-round pick out of Purdue and had an outside chance of capturing the fifth spot in the rotation this spring.

But he has options remaining, while several other candidates will have to be released if they fail to make the final 25-man roster.

Last spring outfielder Xavier Paul won the Mulvey award, while infielder Blake DeWitt won it in 2008. Left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo, outfielder Jason Repko and first baseman James Loney are other past winners on the current roster.

The Mulvey family were part owners of the Dodgers from 1938 to 1975.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Stults being shopped as the fifth-starter dwindling continues

Ten days of spring-training games left for the Dodgers before it gets real, and do you know where your fifth starter is?

That traffic jam for the final spot in the Dodgers’ rotation may slowly be coming untangled.

Though Joe Torre has said a decision will come down to spring’s final days, the Dodgers appear to be narrowing their focus.

Dylan Hernandez reports that the Dodgers are shopping Eric Stults, who because he is out of options was a presumed slight favorite after James McDonald was sent down. Getting shopped is not being shown a lot of love.

If Stults is not in the Dodgers' plans, the fifth spot is down to Carlos Monasterios, Charlie Haeger and the dueling Ortiz Reclamation Projects.

Josh Lindblom remains an intriguing thought, but he may have appeared just enough like a young pitcher Wednesday against the A’s (two runs on three hits and two walks in two innings) to take him out of serious consideration. At least for the moment.

Despite a rough last outing, Monasterios looks like he’ll make the club, either as a starter or reliever. He spent most of last season coming out of the bullpen. And as a Rule 5 pick, it’s use him or lose him.

Haeger is in a similar situation because he’s out of options. Torre likes the knuckleballer and is stretching him out like he wants to start him. He threw 68 pitches in a minor league game.

It’s hard to truly believe in either Ortiz, given their recent history, but they continue to make their case. And at some point, you have to pay attention.

Ramon Ortiz hasn’t had an ERA under 5.00 in his last three major-league seasons and pitched all of last year in the minors.

Still, he has a 1.38 ERA this spring and has struck out 17 in 13 innings. Numbers that are hard to ignore, try as you might. He gets another start Thursday against the Brewers.

Then there is Russ Ortiz, another aging right-hander who hasn’t had an ERA under 5.50 in his last four seasons. He went 3-6 with a 5.57 ERA last season in 23 games (13 starts) for the Astros.

But he has a 2.08 ERA in four games and is looking surprising like the Ortiz who went 21-7 for the Braves in 2003.

With Ronald Belisario still lost in Visa Land and Hong-Chih Kuo still nursing his almost continually sore elbow, there could be room on the staff for guys who can start or relieve, such as Monasterios and Haeger.

-- Good news department: Ken Gurnick reports at dodgers.com that minor league hitting coach Lenny Harris was released from the hospital Wednesday.

Harris, baseball’s all-time leading pinch-hitter, had quadruple bypass surgery Saturday. He did not have a heart attack but did have blockage in four arteries.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Manny Ramirez on roster for Dodgers' trip to Taiwan

Manny
PHOENIX -- Manny Ramirez is among the 33 players the Dodgers will send to Taiwan for a three-game exhibition series next month, the club announced Tuesday morning.

James Loney, Ronnie Belliard, Jamey Carroll and Taiwan natives Hong-Chih Kuo and Chin-lung Hu will also be part of the split squad that will make the trip. The team will be led by manager Joe Torre, leaving the squad left behind in Arizona to be managed by hitting coach Don Mattingly.

Here’s the Dodgers’ roster for the Taiwan trip:

Pitchers (15): RHP Mario Alvarez, LHP Alberto Bastardo, RHP Robert Boothe, RHP Jesus Castillo, RHP Hyang-Nam Choi, RHP John Ely, RHP Francisco Felix, RHP Charlie Haeger, RHP Kenley Jansen, LHP Hong-Chih Kuo, RHP Josh Lindblom, RHP Jon Link, LHP Juan Perez, LHP Eric Stults and RHP Josh Towers.
 
Catchers (4): J.D. Closser, Gabriel Gutierrez, Lucas May, Jesse Mier
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Sandy Koufax gives the kids a lesson of a lifetime

Sandy
There was a ghost sighting at the Dodgers' camp Monday. The kind the Dodgers would like to see a lot more.

Sandy Koufax, fresh off his benefit night in Los Angeles on Saturday, is in Phoenix for a week and stopped by the team’s complex to speak to the pitching staff and work individually with several pitchers.

He worked with Chad Billingsley, Josh Lindblom, Scott Elbert and Ramon Troncoso in the bullpen area, after having spoken with Eric Stults, Jon Link and Lindblom earlier. Billingsley seemed to get special attention.

"He has that aura or awe about him," Stults said. "He's somebody that is special in the game of baseball.

"But he has a way of communicating that you understand. He's one of those guys that’s like, 'Here’s a suggestion. If you don't like it, go back to the way you throw.' As a pitcher, you want to hear those things."
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