RONNIE BELLIARD, 35, infielder
Final 2010 stats: .216 batting average, two home runs, 19 RBI, 10 doubles, .295 on-base percentage, .327 slugging percentage in 162 at-bats.
Contract status: Free agent.
The good: Alas, his season peaked in the third game, at Pittsburgh, when he went 3-for-5 with a double, triple and home run. At least he started like he might pick up where he left off last season, hitting .289 in April. Defensively played first, second and third base.
The bad: After May 21, he was trapped in Nowhere Land, batting just .183 (19 for 104) with one home run. He no longer resembled the infielder the Dodgers had acquired at the trading deadline in 2009 and hit so well that he supplanted Orlando Hudson as the starting second baseman down the stretch and into the playoffs.
The right-handed hitter batted only .167 against left-handers and .184 at Dodger Stadium. With two outs and runner in scoring position, went 3-for-19 (.158).
What’s next: Zippo as a Dodger.
The take: Though he performed well in the fall of 2009, you always had the feeling he was largely kept around because he was buddies with Manny Ramirez. A few days after Manny was claimed by the White Sox, the Dodgers waived Belliard and then released him when he went unclaimed.
It didn’t help his cause that Jamey Carroll, a utility infielder, was also signed, but Carroll stepped up and Belliard did not. He probably needed more consistent playing time to perform at the expected level, but it’s not like he earned it.
He’s probably looking at being invited to someone’s camp -- probably as a non-roster invitee -- but can’t imagine him returning to the Dodgers. Some will always have Paris, Belliard will always have his September-October of ’09.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Steve Dilbeck and The Times' Dodgers reporters
give you all the news on the boys in blue
RONNIE BELLIARD, 35, infielder
When your season has been a crashing disappointment, it’s not like you need offseason reminders.
Alas, that’s part of the deal. A not-so-sweet package. Darts and barbs and cynicism everywhere. Constant reminders of failures and shortcomings, from media and fans.
And did I mention … Major League Baseball?
Yep, good ol' MLB has given the Boys in Blue one little extra slap in the kisser.
Not intentionally, of course, but with the release of its This Year in Baseball Awards, the Dodgers have taken yet another blow.
This is the ninth year it’s sponsored a polling of fans to determine winners in 19 different categories. Because, you know, there can just never be enough fan-driven awards.
There are 10 nominations in each category -- which besides best hitter and closer, include such nifty awards as X-factor and oddity -- meaning, there are 190 nominations in all.
And out of 190 nominations, there is exactly one current Dodger nominated. Unless you count the ball boy who was nominated for best fan moment. Still awaiting word on whether the Dodgers are going to pick up his option.
The Dodgers received three total nominations, including Hong-Chih Kuo for best setup man, ex-Dodger Ronnie Belliard for best play and ball boy Francisco Herrera for best fan moment.
I’m pretty sure Dennis Mannion was going to nab a nomination for executive of the year, until Frank McCourt let it slip he was canning the team president. Sadly for McCourt, whom you may have heard also suffered a rough season, there is no award for owner of the year. I mean, they’d probably just have to name it after him anyway.
This Internet poll does earn a following. MLB claims more than 12 million people voted last season.
Kuo won the setup man award in 2008 and had an even better 2010, though the Dodgers are sort of fudging to nominate him here since he spent almost the final two months as their closer.
Belliard was nominated for making a play May 2 against Pittsburgh. Playing third base he made a running, over-the-shoulder catch in left field of a Bobby Crosby popup, then spun and made a strong throw to first baseman James Loney, who stretched out to make the catch and double up Andy LaRoche.
Otherwise, Belliard hit .216 and was released by the Dodgers Sept. 7.
Somehow four ball boys were nominated for best fan moment, including the Dodgers’ Herrera. Sitting in foul territory outside left field, he made a terrific backhanded catch of a slicing drive into the stands by Met Ike Davis. Then he handed the ball to a toddler.
And you thought the Dodgers had no highlights in 2010. Forgot all about the ball boy, and probably Belliard.
Nineteen different awards, 190 nominations, and that’s the best the Dodgers could do. If MLB was just a bit more creative, maybe the Dodgers could have scored a few more nominations.
Best first six weeks of the season (Andre Ethier), most creative hair use (Manny Ramirez), most creative use of a hair product (Vicente Padilla), best performance by a really small person (Jamey Carroll), best Matthew McConaughey look-a-like (John Ely), best performance by a 300-pound reliever, first-half division (Jonathan Broxton).
As it is, the award nominations are what they are, much like the Dodgers’ season.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Buried as they may be in the standings, mathematically they live. And much to the Giants’ chagrin, they had enough life and enough Chad Billingsley on Friday night to pull out a 4-2 victory.
Billingsley not only pitched eight tough innings, he singled in the final two runs.
The Giants are primed for a September stretch run, coming into the game trailing the Padres in the National League West by three games and the Phillies for the wild card by two.
What would a little Dodgers-Giants rivalry be without the other trying to muck up the others’ playoff hopes?
The Dodgers jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Barry Zito in the second inning. Casey Blake singled, and after Zito then got consecutive strikeouts, Rod Barajas continued his amazing little run as a Dodger, hammering a two-run homer to left.
In just his eighth game with the Dodgers since being claimed off waivers from the Mets, Barajas has now hit four home runs and driven in eight.
The Giants, however, got the runs back in the fourth. Billingsley had not allowed a hit through the opening three innings. But after an error by shortstop Rafael Furcal, just activated off the disabled list before the game, Aubrey Huff’s sharp bouncer went off Ronnie Belliard’s glove at first for an infield hit.
Billingsley retired the next two Giants before phenom Buster Posey lined a single over Furcal’s outstretched glove for a two-run single.
The Dodgers struck back in the bottom of the inning, via the unlikely bat of Billingsley.
After a pair of Zito walks and a sacrifice bunt, Reed Johnson popped up. The Giants then logically intentionally walked Barajas to get to Billingsley.
Billingsley had driven in one run all season, but the .125 hitter sent a soft, sinking liner to right that Jose Guillen charged but had go off his glove.
The single scored two and gave the Dodgers their 4-2 lead.
Billingsley (11-8) gave up only two hits in his eight innings. But runs were unearned. He walked two and struck out seven.
Hong-Chih Kuo pitched a perfect ninth to record his eighth save.
Zito (8-11) lasted only four innings for the Giants.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley delivers a two-run single in the fourth inning against the Giants on Friday night. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire
Dodgers second baseman Ryan Theriot was scratched from the starting lineup for a second day Wednesday due to a sore left knee, with Ronnie Belliard again taking his place.
Theriot "said it felt much better today, but I think with the off-day tomorrow . . . I’d just as soon sit him today," Manager Joe Torre said before the Dodgers closed their three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies in a noon game at Dodger Stadium.
Recently acquired from the Chicago Cubs, Theriot was hurt Monday night when the Phillies' Jayson Werth slid into him trying to break up an attempted double-play.
Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw (11-8) faces Phillies right-hander Roy Oswalt (9-13) in Wednesday's game. Here are the starting lineups:
-- Jim Peltz
Photo: Dodgers second baseman Ryan Theriot leaps over the Philadelphia Phillies' Jayson Werth on a force out in Monday night's game at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee / Image of Sport-US Presswire
Dodgers injured and recovering: Rafael Furcal to start rehab, Ryan Theriot out with sore knee, Vicente Padilla hit on arm by line drive
Away from downtown court action, the Dodgers still managed to be active at the stadium Tuesday on the health front.
Shortstop Rafael Furcal, on the disabled list since Aug. 11 with a lower back strain, is scheduled to begin a two-game rehabilitation assignment at triple-A Albuquerque on Wednesday.
Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said Furcal is then scheduled to rejoin the Dodgers on Friday.
"It’s totally better than before,’’ Furcal said. "Right now, I feel good.’’
Second baseman Ryan Theriot, who has an 11-game hitting streak, was scratched from the lineup with a sore left knee. He was replaced by Ronnie Belliard.
Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth slid into Theriot on Monday night in the eighth inning to break up a double-play attempt. Theriot remained in the game, but the knee was sore Tuesday.
Manager Joe Torre said with an afternoon game Wednesday and an off-day on Thursday, Theriot probably would not return to the lineup until Friday.
"It doesn’t seem to be anything that needs further investigation,’’ Torre said.
Meanwhile, right-hander Vicente Padilla’s sore neck came out fine from his rehab start Monday at Class-A Inland Empire, but he was hit on the right forearm by a line drive in the second inning.
"His neck didn’t bother him, his shoulder didn’t bother him,’’ Conte said. "But his arm did after getting hit.’’
Padilla wasn’t seriously injured, however, and did return to pitch a final inning. Padilla is tentatively scheduled to start Monday in San Diego.
"In a perfect world, you’d like a couple more rehab starts,’’ Conte said.
Catcher Russell Martin is also scheduled to have a follow-up CT scan on his injured hip Wednesday.
Conte said the previous X-ray showed the fracture perfectly aligned.
"Surgery has been ruled out as long as it stays aligned,’’ Conte said.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Dodgers lose 10-5 to fall 6 1/2 back in wild-card race; Manny Ramirez pinch hits but ejected after one pitch
Can he stay in the game?
Ramirez, inexplicably benched for the fourth consecutive game Sunday, pinch-hit in the sixth inning, took one pitch called a strike, complained and was quickly ejected.
And that was your Manny Ramirez for the day.
Somehow symbolic for the Dodgers’ ultimately futile effort in a disheartening 10-5 loss to the Rockies.
After wining four consecutive games to give belated life to their playoff hopes, the Dodgers have now lost consecutive games and fallen 6½ back of the Phillies in the National League wild-card race.
The Dodgers open a key three-game series at Dodger Stadium against the Phillies on Monday.
The Dodgers could do precious little with Colorado right-hander Jason Hammel, who had boasted a 6.31 earned-run average in his last 12 starts.
Lilly was 5-0 in five starts with the Dodgers, but lasted only four innings Sunday.
He gave up seven runs on nine hits -- including two doubles, two triples and two home runs. He walked only one, however, and struck out eight.
All while the Dodgers were specializing on missing out on scoring chances.
In the fourth inning, they had runners on the corners with no outs and failed to score.
After scoring one run in the fifth on Jay Gibbons’ double, they loaded the bases with no outs but Andre Ethier failed to put the ball in play with one of his four strikeouts on the day.
And then in the sixth, after scoring once on doubles by Matt Kemp and James Loney, they loaded the bases with one out and called on Ramirez.
It was what you might call a quick at-bat. He took a first pitch that appeared outside that home-plate umpire Gary Cederstrom called a strike.
Manny, who almost never argues balls and strikes, turned to Cederstrom, complained about the call and was immediately ejected.
Manny argued a bit more before walking off, his day down to one pitch. Worse, Reed Johnson then hit for Ramirez and grounded into a double play.
Colorado outfielder Carlos Gonzalez got a little more for his money, continuing to kill L.A. pitching. Gonzalez went three for four, including two home runs, scored twice and drove in three runs.
The Dodgers did score three times against the Colorado bullpen in the eighth, one on a Ronnie Belliard single and two on a Ryan Theriot hit. Either struck out again, and after a Kemp infield single loaded the bases, Loney grounded out.
They had won 10 consecutive series against the Rockies until dropping two of three over the weekend.
Photo: Dodgers pinch-hitter Manny Ramirez has some final words for home-plate umpire Gary Cederstrom after getting ejected in the sixth inning Sunday. Credit: Andrew Carpenean / US Presswire
And now for the greatest waiver pickup in the history of baseball, all nine planets and the entire universe.
The Dodgers give you -- Rod Barajas.
Yep, the journeyman catcher, former Santa Fe Springs High School star, father of six and soon to be 35 -year-old.
Barajas, claimed on waivers Sunday from the Mets, joined the Dodgers on Tuesday and made like Johnny Bench, collecting two doubles and a game-winning three-run homer to lead the Dodgers to a 5-3 victory over the Brewers.
Wild guess: He’s just a tad happy to be a Dodger.
The offensively challenged Dodgers hadn’t been blessed with a three-run homer since James Loney hit one on July 11. Every other team in baseball had hit at least one since then.
With Matt Kemp adding a two-run homer, Ted Lilly again strong to raise his record to 5-0 in five starts as a Dodger, Barajas provided unexpected offense.
His three extra-base hits in his Dodgers’ debut equaled the combined total number of catchers Brad Ausmus and A.J. Ellis in 42 games.
The Dodgers opened the scoring in the second after Loney singled off Dave Bush.
That brought up Kemp, who with a fairly easy-looking swing, absolutely crushed a Bush offering to dead center. It bounced off the scoreboard well above the center-field wall. It was estimated at 447 feet, though seem farther.
Kemp, who had been mired in a 1-for-22 skid, has now homered in three consecutive games. His 22 home runs lead the team.
Lilly wasn’t quite as sharp as he had been in his last outing when he shut out the Rockies, but was still impressive.
The Brewers got on run back in the bottom of the second after Prince Fielder singled and scored on a Casey McGehee triple.
The Brewers took the lead with a two-out rally in the fifth. Rickie Weeks tied the game at 2-2 with a solo home run. Shortstop Alcides Escobar singled and then scored the go-head run on a Ryan Braun double.
But the Dodgers took back the lead with a two-out rally of their own in the sixth after Jamey Carroll and Ronnie Belliard singled to bring up Barajas.
Barajas, who had 12 home runs for the Mets, then drilled one out to left for the three-run homer.
Lilly went 6 ½ innings, allowing his three runs on seven hits and one walk. He struck out two.
Hong-Chih Kuo pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth save.
Manny Ramirez, in his second game back since coming off the disabled list and the subject of waiver rumors, went hitless in four at-bats and is now 0-for-7 since his return.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo:Rod Barajas hits a three-run home run Tuesday. Credit: Allen Fredrickson / Reuters
Clayton Kershaw pitched his heart out Tuesday.
Then his bullpen threatened to rip it out once again before Jonathan Broxton -- of all people -- got the final out in the Dodgers' 6-0 win over the Colorado Rockies in the opener of a six-game homestand at Dodger Stadium.
The win was just the second in seven games for the Dodgers, and it came despite the fact the Dodgers' two biggest flaws -- a lack of timely hitting and a lock-down bullpen -- once again reared their ugly heads.
It's a script Dodgers starters have become familiar with lately: pitch well, leave with a lead and then hope their relievers can close it out. Sometimes they do; many times they don't.
Take Kershaw, for example. He's allowed more than two earned runs just once in his previous five starts, yet he has just one win to show for it. On Tuesday, he scattered five hits over seven shutout innings, striking out six. But before he'd gotten back to the clubhouse, reliever Kenley Jansen had allowed a single and a walk, putting the Dodgers bullpen back on a tightrope.
George Sherrill came in to quickly restore order, however, and Broxton then pitched a perfect ninth, helping Kershaw raise his record to 11-7 and drop his ERA to 3.03, best among Dodgers starters in both categories.
And to think Manager Joe Torre spent part of the afternoon lamenting his team's offense.
Or, rather, his team's lack of offense.
"We haven't been productive. And you need production," he said. "Our hitting has been erratic. And very inconsistent."
The Dodgers were stuck in neutral again for much of Tuesday, managing just a hit off Colorado starter Jhoulys Chacin through four innings. That all changed in the fifth, though, when Jamey Carroll drew a lead-off walk and catcher A.J. Ellis singled him to third.
One out later, Scott Podsednik dropped an opposite-field double just out of the reach of Ryan Spilborghs, one-hopping the short fence in the left-field corner to score a pair. That was the Dodgers' first hit in their last 26 at-bats with runners in scoring position, but it wouldn't be their last. After an out and a walk, James Loney drove in two more runs with a double to right-center then scored himself on Casey Blake's solid single.
Blake added an eighth-inning single and scored the Dodgers final run when Colorado reliever Randy Flores fielded pinch-hitter Ronnie Belliard's weak tapper back to the mound but threw wildly to first, pulling Todd Helton off the bag.
-- Kevin Baxter
What a meltdown. What a completely miserable meltdown.
After leading 9-2 going into the bottom of the eighth, the Dodgers suffered their most crushing loss of the season Thursday when Carlos Ruiz completed a stunning Philadelphia comeback with a two-run double off the wall against Jonathan Broxton for a 10-9 Phillies victory.
The Phillies scored four times in the eighth off Ronald Belisario and four more times off Broxton in the ninth.
For Broxton, it continued a miserable history against the Phillies. Philadelphia loaded the bases in the ninth without a hit as Broxton hit batter and gave up a pair of walks. Casey Blake then booted a potential double-play grounder for a two-run error before Ruiz completed the comeback.
Struggling Matt Kemp returned to the lineup after a two-game benching and drove in four runs, two on his team-high 19th home run.
After being shut out the previous night, the Dodgers went right to work against Joe Blanton, scoring three times in the first.
Scott Podsednik led off with a single to center and James Loney drew a two-out walk before a succession of singles by Ronnie Belliard, Kemp and Jamey Carroll each drove in a run.
The Phillies got one back in the second against Clayton Kershaw after Ruiz singled and Wilson Valdez doubled him to third. Blanton managed to drive in the run when he bounced out to Belliard at third.
Philadelphia made it a 3-2 game in the fourth when Jayson Werth singled, stole second and scored on a Ruiz hit.
The Dodgers, however, got the run back in the fifth after Ryan Theriot singled and an Andre Ethier single sent him to third.
Belliard lined out to Raul Ibanez in medium left, but Theriot tagged anyway. The throw by Ibanez was on line, but Theriot made a terrific slide, going to the far side of the plate to elude the Ruiz tag and then touch the plate with his left hand.
The Dodgers got to reliever Chad Durbin in the seventh when Loney singled and Kemp drilled his two-run homer to left.
The Dodgers seemed to have the game put away after scoring three runs in the eighth on RBI singles by Blake, Kemp and Carroll to take a 9-2 lead.
But the Phillies managed to turn it into a nervous affair against a lost-looking Belisario in the eighth.
Belisario gave up four runs on four hits and a bizarre balk when he faked a throw to third, despite there being no runner at the base. He did not record an out.
Beleaguered reliever George Sherrill followed Kenley Jansen to put an end to the Phillies’ rally.
Broxton came on to close it in the ninth, but did not record an out.
The loss dropped them nine games behind the Padres.
The Dodgers, who had 18 hits against the Phillies on Tuesday, had 15 on Thursday.
Kershaw went 6 2/3 innings. He gave up the two runs on six hits and a pair of walks, with four strikeouts.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz is swarmed by teammates (from left) Mike Sweeney (5), Brian Schneider and Greg Dobbs (19) after hitting the game-winning, two-run double in the ninth inning against the Dodgers on Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park. Credit: Barbara Johnston / US Presswire
When a team is losing, nothing seems to go its way. Not the calls, not the bounces, not the breaks.
Then when it finally does, the skies open up. Sunshine and good times feel everywhere.
Including Saturday night in the 10th inning, when James Loney lined a bases-loaded single to right field to present the Dodgers with a much-needed 3-2 victory over the Nationals.
With the Padres, Giants and Rockies -- the teams ahead of them in the National League West standings -- losing Saturday, it made for a night when plenty went the Dodgers' way.
It started in the bottom of the 10th when pinch-hitter Ronnie Belliard drew a leadoff walk from Sean Burnett. Scott Podsednik, unable to get a sacrifice bunt down, them poked a single to right, sending Belliard to third.
The Nationals brought right-fielder Michael Morse in as an extra infielder against Ryan Theriot. And with the infield in, Theriot bounced out right to Morse playing near second base.
Andre Either was then intentionally walked before Loney got his hit to right to win the game and make a winner out of Jonathan Broxton (4-3).
The game began as though someone was trying to play a cruel joke on the Dodgers. A team almost desperate to jump out in front fell behind before Vin Scully could warm up his voice.
Hiroki Kuroda, who had lasted four innings in his last start, walked Roger Bernadina to lead off the game. One out later, Ryan Zimmerman drilled his 22nd home run, a shot to center field.
Three batters into the game, and the Dodgers were down, 2-0.
Meanwhile, Livan Hernandez started off like he wanted to join baseball's immortals. He had a perfect game going for 3 1/3 innings.
That ended when Theriot lined a hit past second baseman Adam Kennedy. Ethier followed with a double off the right-field wall that advanced Theriot to third.
After Loney walked to load the bases, Matt Kemp -- mired in an 0-for-11 skid -- sent a fly to deep right.
Morse backed up to the wall, timed his leap perfectly and caught the ball with his glove on top of the wall to take a grand slam from Kemp.
All, however, was hardly lost for the Dodgers.
Theriot tagged up and scored for what went as a long sacrifice fly. Kennedy fielded the cut-off throw from Morse and, apparently noticing Loney had strayed off the bag, threw to first.
Apparently he had not noticed that first baseman Adam Dunn had backed him up on the throw and was nowhere near first. His throw sailed past first base coach Mariano Duncan for an embarrassing error and Ethier trotted home with the tying run.
Kuroda gave up a pair of one-out singles in the second and did not allow another runner. He retired the last 17 batters he faced before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh.
Kuroda gave up the two runs on three hits. He was a model of efficiency after the second. He walked one and struck out eight. He threw 88 pitches, 66 for strikes.
Hernandez also left after seven innings for a pinch-hitter. Hernandez, who came in 9-15 with a 4.86 earned-run average in his career against the Dodgers, gave up five hits and two walks.
-- Steve Dilbeck