Dodgers Now

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Category: Lance Cormier

Daily Dodger in review: Blake Hawksworth delivers middle ground

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BLAKE HAWKSWORTH, 28, reliever

Final 2011 stats: 2-5, 4.08 ERA, 49 games, 1.17 WHIP.

Contract status: Under team control.

The good: Had nice stretches and overall was useful enough as a middle reliever. Appeared in a career-high 49 games, and had personal bests of 7.3 strikeouts and 2.9 walks per nine innings.

Remember, he came in exchange for Ryan Theriot, who was generally a bust and wasn’t going to be brought back anyway after that wondrous signing of Juan Uribe. So any positive contribution was going to be a plus.

Went on the disabled list with a groin strain in the middle of May, which instigated the call-up of Javy Guerra, so I’ll give him some points for that.

The bad: He still had a 2.92 ERA on Aug. 9 when he went through a horrid eight-game stretch (11.88 ERA). Was considered a potential swing man when acquired from the Cardinals for Theriot, but he never did start a game.

He’ll be 29 at the start of next season, so this might be as good as it gets, and that’s OK.

What’s next: He’s out of options and in his final year under team control before becoming eligible for arbitration, so he figures to be back in the bullpen in 2012.

The take: So maybe you didn’t fall madly in love; there was still enough there to keep you interested.

General Manager Ned Colletti has a thing for bringing in journeyman relievers in the off-season, some of whom work out OK (Mike MacDougal) and some of whom who don’t (Lance Cormier). He’ll probably go fishing again this winter, but at least with Hawksworth he has a known arm. And if he stays healthy a full season, may yet have more upside.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo credit: Joe Murphy / Getty Images

Daily Dodger in Review: Javy Guerra, the unexpected closer

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JAVY GUERRA
, 26 on Halloween, reliever

Final 2011 stats: 2-2, 21 saves in 23 opportunities, 2.31 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings, .218 opponent batting average in 46 1/3 innings.

Contract status: Under team control.

The good: The great surprise of the Dodgers’ 2011 season. If you saw this one coming, you predicted Lady Gaga. You knew the Cardinals would make the World Series.

The rookie may not have consistently blown people away in that classic closer mode, but he was a model of consistency. If he hadn’t allowed a pair of runs in his final game of the season — coming on his fourth appearance in five days — he would have finished the season with a sub-2.00 ERA. Until that last appearance, had been successful in all but one of his 22 save opportunities. Has a good, confident presence on the mound.

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Rattled Dodgers call up their minor league pitcher of the year, Rubby De La Rosa, from double A [Updated]

Rubby1 Desperate times call for desperate measures, or at least call-ups.

The Dodgers, feeling troubled earlier this season in left field, called up Jerry Sands, who just a year ago was starting the season at Class A.

Now the Dodgers, melting in the bullpen and tired of carrying the nearly useless Lance Cormier, have called up Rubby De La Rosa from double A Chattanooga.

Like Sands, De La Rosa started last season at Class A. Like Sands, who was the Dodgers' minor league player of the year last season, De La Rosa was their minor league pitcher of the year.

He’s been mostly a starting pitcher, but for now will go the bullpen, presumably for long relief.

If the Dodgers are playing well, and not placing almost a second team on the disabled list, Sands and De La Rosa are still in the minors, being carefully brought along.

But these Dodgers are reeling and threatening to disappear from the National League West race before June rolls around.

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Dodgers can't carry the momentum, fall 9-2 to White Sox

Photo: Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly replaces starting pitcher Jon Garland in the fourth inning Saturday in Chicago. Credit: Jerry Lai / US Presswire The Dodgers will always have Friday.

Alas, Saturday looked just a bit too familiar. Too much like most of their season. At least the hitting part.

The day after pulling off their most thrilling and unexpected victory of the season, the Dodgers returned to U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago unable to sustain even a hint of momentum.

Maybe that long flight with precious little sleep the previous day caught up to them, but they hardly resembled a team inspired by a dramatic comeback victory, falling meekly, 9-2, on Saturday afternoon to the White Sox.

Rookie Jerry Sands picked up his first career major-league home run, which pretty much ended their offensive highlights.

White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle (4-3) made it look fairly routine, scattering seven hits in his seven innings.

His former White Sox teammate, Jon Garland, had what could safely -- hopefully? -- be called an off game.

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Plans awry, Dodgers bullpen tries to stay one step ahead of chaos

Lkym5cnc So much for the best-laid plans of mice and general managers.

When the Dodgers went into spring training, they were confident their rebuilt bullpen would be a 2011 strength. Had it all mapped out.

Maybe they were crossing their fingers on returning Jonathan Broxton as closer, but he was an All-Star coming off a bad half-season. And if he faltered, there was the nearly unhittable Hong-Chih Kuo.

Behind them, the hard-throwing Ronald Belisario. Vicente Padilla would return as the long man. Kenley Jansen was back off his lights-out rookie campaign.

Then there was new addition Matt Guerrier, and even Blake Hawksworth if needed for the middle innings.

Only six weeks into the season, the bullpen is completely upside down. Almost unrecognizable.

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Dodgers to sign autographs to raise funds for tornado relief effort Sunday and Tuesday

Dodgers logo Several Dodgers players and coaches will sign autographs Sunday and Tuesday in an effort to raise funds for those in the southern United States who were hit by the recent wave of tornadoes.

Sunday the autographs will be offered as part of the Viva Los Dodgers Day celebration in Lot 6 beyond center field.

The Dodgers are encouraging a donation of $5. Those expected to sign include Manager Don Mattingly, and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt as well as Clayton Kershaw, Jonathan Broxton, Matt Guerrier, Lance Cormier, Marcus Thames, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Rod Barajas.

Tuesday autographs will be signed in what the Dodgers call autograph alley, the area leading directly to Lot G behind center field.

Cormier and his family live in Tuscaloosa, Ala., one of the hardest hit areas, and the Dodgers said he is spearheading the team's relief effort.

Also starting Saturday and continuing through the final three games of the homestand against the Cubs, fans can text "GIVE" to 80888 to make a donation to the relief efforts through the Salvation Army or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Could Matt Guerrier actually prove a bargain?

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Matt Guerrier (55) pitches in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium Monday. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire
At the time, it was a mild head-scratcher.

Three years and $12 million for a 32-year-old middle reliever?

Matt Guerrier had been a very nice reliever the previous six years for the Minnesota Twins. For his career, he had a 3.37 earned-run average, a 1.23 WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched) and had appeared in more than 70 games in each of the previous four seasons.

With multiyear deals for middle relievers almost in vogue during the off-season, the Dodgers signed Guerrier.

So far, he has been a serious bargain.

In nine appearances this season, Guerrier has yet to give up a run and has fashioned a remarkable 0.69 WHIP.

Thursday, he pitched two scoreless innings for the Dodgers, picking up his first victory. He has yet to give up a run in 10 2/3 innings as a Dodger.

With Kenley Jansen and Lance Cormier struggling, Ronald Belisario still doing his Venezuelan visa dance, Hong-Chih Kuo on the disabled list, Ramon Troncoso still unrecognizable and Vicente Padilla just about to make his season debut, the Dodgers have badly needed Guerrier to come through.

Just like a reliever worthy of a three-year deal. And so far, he has been better than even expected.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Matt Guerrier (55) pitches in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium Monday. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire

Dodgers still waiting for Kenley Jansen's 2011 command performance

Jansen_640
Was it only a dream?

The kid who had been a career catcher is suddenly turned into a reliever and starts throwing lightning? In less than a year, he not only makes it to the majors, he dominates.

Really, it happened. Kenley Jansen came on last July and posted an 0.67 ERA in 25 games. He struck out 50 in 27 innings.

It just seems like some fuzzy dream at the moment, because Jansen is suddenly enormously hittable. He barely resembles the hard-throwing right-hander from last season.

In eight appearances this year, Jansen has an 11.57 ERA. He's given up 13 hits (three homers), walked six and struck out 13 in 8 2/3 innings. Manager Don Mattingly admits to some concern.

"A little, obviously he hasn't been like last year," Mattingly said. "He hasn’t been overpowering.

"His command has not been great, but he really hasn't had that little extra gear yet this year. There's been times he's had it, but I don't think consistently."

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Not the best start for the Dodgers bullpen

Matt-guerrier_300 Getting a little nervous about that bullpen?

Maybe you should be. Maybe the Dodgers should be.

Matt Guerrier is looking good. Mike MacDougal is one solo home run away from matching Guerrier's 0.00 ERA.

And that just about covers your early bullpen highlights. Jonathan Broxton is a perfect 5-for-5 in save situations but hasn't exactly been wowing the masses with his one strikeout and 4.15 ERA.

Everybody else, even Hong-Chih Kuo, is still looking for their 2011 mojo. Guess the assumption there is they'll find it.

Kenley Jansen, last year's surprise sensation, pitched one scoreless inning Tuesday to lower his ERA to 7.11, a number Lance Cormier (9.00 ERA) would kill for. Kuo hasn't been terrible, but neither has he looked like the untouchable left-hander from last season.

It's still hard to get a firm grasp on Blake Hawksworth, who has looked pretty good at times and not so good on others. He did not look so good Tuesday when he gave up a triple off the wall to the Giants' Aaron Rowand that would have been a home run in most parks. Or when he then threw a wild pitch to allow Rowand to score the winning run.

Last year's bullpen was a major disappointment, which made it just one of several major disappointments. It was revamped in the offseason and, with Vicente Padilla injured, currently has four new members from a year ago.

The Dodgers have built this year’s team around pitching, and if that naturally begins with the starters, it has to end with the bullpen. Which right now is a little too close to nervous time for the Dodgers' liking.

RELATED:

Chris Erskine: Don't give up on the ballpark, Dodgers fans

T.J. Simers: Davey Lopes is in Matt Kemp's corner, but can he help others?

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers reliever Matt Guerrier delivers a pitch against the Giants during a 7-5 win earlier this month. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire

Dodgers still waiting for their offense to awaken after 7-2 loss to Padres

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Brother, can you spare some offense? Just a tiny little speck of offense?

Even the most optimistic of Dodgers fans did not expect the team to be an offensive force this season. Neither did the most negative expect them to rely heavily on opposing defenses going all Keystone Kops on them in order to generate any run production.

Alas, nine games in and the Dodgers' offense has mostly played as though it still was in Arizona, trotting out for another meaningless spring game.

Their offensive struggles continued Sunday against the Padres and right-hander Aaron Harang, who last year on a good Reds team was 6-7 with a 5.32 earned-run average.

Harang held the Dodgers to three hits in his six-plus innings. The Dodgers mustered one more hit the rest of the game.

Meanwhile, the offensively inept Padres hit three home runs on the way to an easy 7-2 victory. The Padres had hit a total of three home runs in their first seven games.

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