Don Mattingly was asked about the Angels and all of their high-profile signings. And how, in light of the Dodgers’ recent doldrums, the Angels may be the number one show on grass in Los Angels now.
In his response, Mattingly was either zen or tautologous, depending on your point of view:
“At the end of the day, the Dodgers are the Dodgers … The Yankees are the team, no matter what the Mets do. They’re going to have their years that they play well, but the Yankees are the team.”
Matt Kemp joined in on this too, saying “Definitely, there’s only one Los Angeles team and that’s the L.A. Dodgers.” He’s right! On a technicality, anyway, as Anaheim is a different city.
I dunno. I get what they’re saying. But taking this a tad more seriously, it’s worth noting that people used to say things like “[proper noun] is the Cadillac of [category in which noun is a part of],” as if there was no question about what the gold standard is. Time changes that kind of thing.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the Los Angeles Dodgers because of a tradition of winning, a tradition of their large, loyal following and a tradition of standard-setting excellence in management, organization and perceived class. All of those things are either gone or are at risk thanks to the McCourt era. Inertia and history won’t keep them on top forever.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.