The party is most definitely on in Chavez Ravine.
New Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez strutted to the plate to a rousing standing ovation in his first at-bat Saturday night at Dodger Stadium and connected for a three-run homer on the second pitch he saw from Marlins starter Josh Johnson.
The Dodgers lead 4-1 at the end of the first inning.
Gonzalez was acquired from the Red Sox in the nine-player blockbuster trade that was finalized this afternoon after getting the approval of Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
Gonzalez took a private jet from Boston to Los Angeles along with right-hander Josh Beckett and infielder Nick Punto, arriving at his new home park just a couple hours before first pitch.
Beckett is set to make his Dodgers debut Monday. Punto is on the bench tonight, serving as a utilityman.
Gonzalez is now batting .301/.345/.476 with 16 home runs and 89 RBI in 124 total games this season. We’ll track his activity the rest of the way as the Dodgers try to gain ground on the first-place Giants.
UPDATE, 9:56 PM: Gonzalez struck out swinging in his second plate appearance of the evening. That’s baseball for you. The Dodgers lead the Marlins by a score of 5-2 at the end of the second inning.
UPDATE, 10:32 PM: Gonzalez struck out swinging again in his third at-bat. L.A. is up 6-2 in the fifth.
UPDATE, 11:04 PM: Gonzalez grounded out to first base in his fourth at-bat. The Dodgers lead 7-2.
UPDATE, 11:52 PM: Gonzalez popped out to center field in his fifth — and probably final — trip to the plate. The Dodgers will carry an 8-2 lead into the top of the ninth inning.
UPDATE, 12:01 AM: Yep, that’s it. Gonzalez goes 1-for-5 with a homer and three RBI in his first game with the Dodgers. Andre Ethier went 4-for-4 and Matt Kemp finished 3-for-5.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.