The Dodgers made a depth signing when they agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal Saturday evening. With Dan Haren suffering from back and shoulder issues over the past two seasons, and with Josh Beckett working his way back from shoulder surgery last July, the Dodgers needed a fallback option in the event either or both of Haren and Beckett could not participate. Not to be forgotten, Chad Billingsley won’t be ready to come off of the disabled list until mid-season by most estimates.
Per Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times, Maholm understands he may be asked to pitch in relief. However, the lefty intends to earn the #5 spot in the Dodgers’ starting rotation.
“I’m going to come in and compete,” Maholm said. “If I pitch well, then things will work out.”
The Dodgers, perhaps more than any other team, understand the value of pitching depth. They entered the 2013 season with a surfeit of starting pitching and were rumored to be shopping at least two starters — Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly, namely — towards the end of spring training. But Billingsley could only make two starts; Lilly made five starts and Beckett made eight. They traded for Ricky Nolasco in early July. He was one of 11 pitchers to make at least one start for the Dodgers.
As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.
The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.
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As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”
The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.
After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.