Golden State Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals with a dominant 132-113 victory over Cleveland Cavaliers.Kevin Durant hit a game-high 33 points, while Stephen Curry recorded his first play-off triple-double, with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.LeBron James made a record-equalling eighth play-off triple-double.The Warriors, who welcomed back coach Steve Kerr after missing 11 games through back issues, have now won a record 14 straight play-off games.The visitors trailed by just three points at half-time at Oracle Arena, before the Warriors outscored the Cavaliers 35-24 in a decisive third quarter.Golden State beat Cleveland in the 2015 finals but were 2-0 and then 3-1 up last year, only to let their lead slip as the Cavaliers won their first NBA title. Kerr returnsKerr, a five-time NBA champion as a player, had been absent since game two of his side’s first play-off series against Portland Trail Blazers after suffering complications from back surgery in 2015.Assistant coach Mike Brown stepped in, completing 4-0 sweeps of Portland, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs to reach the finals, with Kerr only announcing his return for this game hours before tip-off.”For him to be out there when he has a built-in excuse not to because of the incredible pain he’s under, it’s amazing. It motivates us to win for him,” said Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson, who hit 22 points.Kerr, 51, led the Warriors to the 2015 title before last year’s defeat and said his side would have to play “smarter” in game three of the best-of-seven series, which takes place in Cleveland on Wednesday (02:00 BST on Thursday). “We play that same game in Cleveland, there’s no way we win,” said Kerr.Double triple-doubleA triple-double means a player has recorded a double-digit number in three of five statistical categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.Cavaliers small forward James, 32, made 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists to draw level with Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson on eight post-season triple-doubles. No other player has more than two.”Right now, it means nothing, but it will mean something,” said James. “He’s one of the greatest to play this game. When I’m done, I’ll probably look back on it and say it was a cool feat.”With Curry also making a triple-double, it was only the second time in play-off history that opposing players have achieved the feat in the same game – the first coming in 1970 by New York Knicks’ Walt Frazier and Milwaukee Buck’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah enjoyed the perfect tune-up ahead of the World Championships with a trademark victory in the 3,000m at the Anniversary Games.The 34-year-old was pushed hard by Spain’s Adel Mechaal, but his final-lap pace proved decisive as he came home in seven minutes 35.15 seconds.Farah will attempt a third successive world 5,000m-10,000m double in August.Elsewhere, Britain’s Laura Muir finished second in the women’s mile.Muir came in behind Kenya’s Olympic silver medallist Hellen Obiri and also missed out on a new British record by six hundredths of a second at the Games, held as part of the Diamond League calendar.Farah puts difficult week behind him Farah once again denied any wrongdoing on Thursday after computer hackers had revealed some of his blood samples had initially been flagged as suspicious. The samples were later cleared on further investigation by governing body the IAAF.Despite a week of difficult questions, Farah was assured of an universally positive welcome at the London Stadium, the scene of his thrilling 2012 Olympic distance double and the venue for next month’s World Championships.While Andrew Butchart kept in range of Farah to finish third in a new Scottish record, the cheers were for the Briton as he held off European indoor champion Mechaal in a season’s best time.”I love London, there’s no place like home. I have to stay focused the next three weeks,” Farah told BBC Sport.”Other things don’t distract me. I’m only in control of my legs. Never will I fail a test. “I run year after year with joy and there’s not much more you can do. I love being on the podium, hearing the anthem and making people proud to be British.”Analysis – ‘Tactical master Farah intimidates rivals’BBC Radio 5 live athletics commentator Mike CostelloMo Farah is still the man to beat over 5,000m and 10,000m at the World Championships, as much because of his aura as anything. The best in any sport tends to intimidate as well as dominate. When his competitors stand on the start line with him, his very presence is enough to frighten them into a loss of form.We’ve seen time and again that tactically he’s a master. If he is not to be victorious at the Worlds, it will be a case where Mo Farah loses rather than somebody else wins. Muir falls short of record but proves pointMuir’s mark of 4:18.03 was half a second outside of Zola Budd’s 32-year-old British mile record, but her display confirmed her return to form and fitness before the World Championships in four weeks’ time.After clocking a 800m personal best in Lausanne on her comeback from a stress fracture in her foot, Muir looked set to add to her five British records, including the 1500m mark set at the Anniversary Games last year, as the field set off at a fierce pace.However, Obiri came through strong in the final 200m to pull away from her rival as Muir’s lack of race sharpness showed. Muir’s hopes of running both the 1500m and 5,000m at the World Championships, which were called into doubt by British Athletics performance director Neil Black last month, now look like being realised.Asher-Smith takes knock to Worlds hopesOlympic 100m champion Elaine Thompson won her contest with world 200m champion Dafne Schippers over the shorter distance, coming home in 10.94 to maintain her unbeaten run in 2017.Britons Asha Philip and Daryll Neita finished sixth and seventh respectively.However, Dina Asher-Smith fell short of the final with time running out for the British record-holder to prove her fitness to the selectors before the World Championships. The 21-year-old suffered a foot fracture earlier this year and ran outdoors for the first time in 2017 last weekend.”Obviously I would have liked to have gone a lot faster, and I would have liked to put a better race together, but I’m happy to have come through it healthy,” she said after her time of 11.51, more than half a second off her personal best.”I’m confident with some more training and some more work in me that things will be on the up.”The British team will be selected on Monday with Philip and Neita assured of their 100m spots.Thompson wins wearing trainers Much of the chat afterwards was about the choice of footwear chosen by Jamaican Thompson as she romped to victory.Although she did not wear conventional running spikes, the 25-year-old said she had to go for a modified form of trainers in the event.”The spikes I have I am not confident with and hurt my Achilles so I am running in flats,” she said.”They have spikes but they are very petite. They are built especially for me and made lighter.”Her performance impressed those on social media.Leo said on Twitter: “Elaine Thompson has just casually mocked the world’s fastest sprinters by winning her 100m in 10.94 into a headwind. WEARING TRAINERS.”James Truscott added: “Elaine Thompson is queen and this is proof of it! Running in trainers at the #AnniversaryGames like it’s some school sports day.”Bosworth turns world beaterBritain’s Tom Bosworth set a new world record in the rarely-raced men’s mile walk, beating the previous 17-year-old mark by five seconds in a winning time of 5:31.08.The 27-year-old, who finished sixth in the 20km at Rio 2016, said that he wanted to produce a special performance to mark race walking’s Diamond League debut.”With about 500m to go I thought ‘is the maths wrong, is that happening?’,” he said.”In athletics, you’ve got to have characters and personality and I think today was a great advert for racewalking.”Hughes makes claim for GB spotDalilah Muhammad, Rio 2016 champion and the fastest women in the world this year, suffered defeat in the 400m hurdles as she struggled to shake off an injury that saw her fail to finish in Lausanne earlier in the week.The American came home in sixth as Jamaica’s Janieve Russell won in 54.02, with Britain’s Eilidh Doyle fourth.Chris O’Hare backed up his victory in last weekend’s British championships with the first Diamond League success of his career, finishing strongly to overtake Kenya’s Vincent Kibet in the home straight and finish in 3:34.75.British champion Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake finished fourth in the 200m behind a trio of Americans led by Ameer Webb.Zharnel Hughes beat Danny Talbot to fifth place to strengthen his claims, in the absence of the injured Adam Gemili, to the third discretionary spot in the British World Championships team.GB heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson came fourth in the long jump with a season’s best leap of 6.75m but finished last in her 100m hurdles heat.British champion Morgan Lake finished seventh in the high jump, with Olympic champion Ruth Beitia also fouling out at 1.90m.Allyson Felix, of the USA, set a new world-leading time for the year with 49.65 in the women’s 400m, while Botswana’s Nijel Amos did the same to win the 800m in 1:43.18.American Kendra Harrison, who set the world record at the meeting last year, won the 100m hurdles in 12.39, but was pushed hard by resurgent Australian Sally Pearson in a season’s best 12.48.Olympic champion Aries Merritt took the 110m hurdles in a season’s best, with Britain’s David Omoregie back in a disappointing eighth. Fellow Rio 2016 gold medallist Kerron Clement beat the British Virgin Islands’ Kyron McMaster, the fastest man in the world this year, in a thrilling finish in the 400m hurdles, winning in 48.02.
It wasn’t surprising that much of the pre-game talk ahead of Game 2 of the Freeway Series centered on Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Mike Trout of the Angels. This is Trout’s fourth major-league season — third full one — yet he had never faced Kershaw during a regular-season game prior to Tuesday.“He’s got dominant stuff, and it’s going to be fun,” Trout said before the first pitch.The Angels and Trout were up to the challenge early and got to Kershaw for three runs over the first three innings. But Kershaw gave up nothing else. His ability to buckle down paid dividends when now seldom-used Andre Ethier hit a ground ball to Angels third baseman David Freese in the bottom of the ninth inning off reliever Kevin Jepsen. With one out and runners at first and third and the infield in, Freese threw a bit wide to catcher Chris Iannetta, who could not handle the throw, and Juan Uribe scored to give the Dodgers a 5-4 victory before 53,051 at Dodger Stadium. Freese was given an error on the play.Uribe, who had singled and went to third on a hit-and-run single by A.J. Ellis, also hit a three-run home run in the second inning.The first-place Dodgers (64-50) picked up a game on the Giants and now lead them by 2 1/2 games in the NL West. The Angels (67-45) fell two games behind Oakland in the AL West.Kenley Jansen (2-3) was filthy in striking out the side in the top of the ninth to earn the victory.Even though Ethier’s bat produced nothing more than a bouncing ball that was not properly handled, manager Don Mattingly praised Ethier for putting the ball in play against a tough nut like Jepsen, who came in with an ERA of 1.75, and for acting professionally after being demoted to the bench recently. “Hopefully, we’ve thrown all the egos out the door and just trying to win games in a pennant race, so it was good to see him come through,” Mattingly said of Ethier, who had only six at-bats this month before Tuesday and lots of DNPs since the third week of July.Said Ethier: “It’s a matter of putting a good quality swing on the ball. You can see what happens when, sometimes, you just put the ball in play.”“It went off my glove,” Iannetta said of the throw by Freese. “You want to make sure you’re not blocking the plate before the play’s even made. The throw pulled me in.”Kershaw tossed seven innings and gave up three earned runs on seven hits. He struck out seven and walked two while throwing 104 pitches. Though he was roughed up early, he did not allow a hit over his final four innings of work.Iannetta had a two-run double off him in the second and Albert Pujols had an RBI double in the third that scored Trout. When Kershaw left he was in line for the victory, but Brian Wilson gave up a home run to Pujols in the eighth inning that tied the game. It was No. 513 in Pujols’ career, and put him alone in 21st place all-time; he was tied with Ernie Banks and Eddie Matthews. As for the Trout-Kershaw matchup, Trout went 2 for 3. He had an infield single in the first inning, a double leading off the third and struck out looking in the fifth. Kershaw, however, refused to speak about that matchup.“I’m not going to talk about individual at-bats,” he said. “I mean, he’s a great hitter and he got two hits tonight, so tip your cap.”Trout had no problem talking about Kershaw, though.“I love watching guys like that,” he said. “He battled through the first couple innings. He still went seven strong. My first at-bat, after I saw that curveball, I was glad I took it. It was pretty filthy. I was seeing pitches my first at-bat. Second at-bat, I was being aggressive. The third at-bat, he just painted me. It was pretty cool facing him.”The Dodgers also got a gift run in the sixth, thanks in part to a throwing error by Freese and one by Iannetta for a 4-3 lead. Hector Santiago started for the Angels. He went 5 1/3 innings and gave up four runs — three earned — on five hits while striking out two and walking three. He threw 94 pitches. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error This gaggle doesn’t even take into account those on the letterhead listed as the chairman and four principal partners, so can Mark Walter or his pals — who formed this dream team with their expense account — squash anything by taking their shoes off and start pounding?Who do the players complain to when they’re going to go over Dave Roberts’ head?And if they’re all on the same page with a starting rotation that could be all left-handers, will everything really be all right?And now maybe it’s more clear why Paul DePodesta defected to the more subdued NFL.• Let Mike Piazza go into the Baseball Hall with a N.Y. logo affixed to his large bronze dome instead of one that says L.A. But here’s the catch: The Dodgers stage a No. 31 retirement pizza party sometime this summer, right? Just to make him feel a little guilty?• Those three members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who didn’t have Ken Griffey Jr. on their ballots — you do follow baseball, right?• When do the local citizens of L.A. get to vote on which NFL team they might prefer over another before we are supposed to embrace this whole corrupt process? When that ballot is put before the general population — let’s set up booths like a giant tailgate in Exposition Park — how many do you think will check the box “none of the above”?• OK, so 24 of the 32 monopolists decide the Inglewood stadium is the way to go, with the Rams or Chargers and/or Raiders planted there, and those who live in the area will just have to move away if they’re not happy with it.Then what becomes of that pile of toxic garbage in Carson that already has a Stadium Avenue wrapped around it?What if someone channeled their inner Agajanian and filled it with another stock-car race track, something that’s been missing from the area over the past 25-plus years?• Kicking and screaming, Will Ferrell’s feral leap into professional soccer ownership with the new L.A. MLS team has to be for one reason only: Ten years down the road, does he have another comedy script written for him that will be kickball’s version of “Semi-Pro”?• Just an odd coincidence that when you try to text the name “Saban” it gets auto-corrected to “Satan”?• Will it take a win over Arizona for rankers to finally realize USC has a basketball program? And by that point, will the Trojans be the only ranked team in the Pac-12 when it takes on UCLA on Wednesday in Westwood? Six current or former general managers go into a room with the team CEO and its farm director. One decision survives.Oh, it’s on in the Chavez Ravine Octagon. It’s a reality show made for ESPNOcho.Although the Dodgers have yet to announce their next greatest acquisition — that would be former Toronto Blue Jays GM extraordinaire Alex Anthopoulos joining the Think Blue Think Tank — this pending arrangement is bound to cause someone’s head to explode.Alphabetically, we go from Anthopoulos to (Farhan) Zaidi. Maybe not ironically, it will probably operate backwards from that.Andrew Friedman spins the bottle in the center of the mosh pit. Josh Byrnes, Ned Colletti and Gerry Hunsicker start to clear their throats. Stan Kasten and Gabe Kapler lean in. All have experience and weight behind their valued opinions.So, do we keep Puig or …?The smartest guy in the room when they all converge for a summit will be the one who just shuts up and watches the others take each other out.• Are the Dodgers more enamored by an All-Star lineup in the front-office break room instead of on the lineup card?
But unlike Stripling, few people are asking Maeda to set aside tickets to watch him pitch. His family and friends are still almost entirely in Japan. That probably won’t change, he said, since it isn’t easy to fly across the Pacific Ocean to watch a baseball game in the middle of a work week.Saho is in Los Angeles, so she’ll be there today. In Japan, they can and will tune in to watch Maeda’s second major league start at 5 a.m. local time. (The NHK broadcast of his first game, which began at 11 a.m. local time, attracted a 2.1 percent rating, about twice as high as an average MLB broadcast.)Maeda’s fans back home are nothing if not well-informed. He didn’t pitch in the Dodgers’ last series against the San Francisco Giants, but no fewer than eight reporters — five with cameras — interviewed him Sunday after Maeda played catch with his interpreter, Will Ireton, at AT&T Park.The novelty of Maeda in America wears off a little every day, but his omnipresent media contingent testifies to his popularity back home. More than every game of catch, every team’s home opener is a big deal in Japan too, so he gets the importance of Tuesday. His fans get it.“I’m very honored to be starting in the stadium opener,” Maeda said. “I’m looking forward to pitching well and hopefully contributing to a win.” Maeda’s debut set a high standard. Even though he didn’t allow a run against the Padres, his dominance was true to the form he flashed in spring training. San Diego made plenty of contact, but all five hits he allowed were singles. Of the 14 balls the Padres put in play against Maeda, their average exit velocity was a relatively harmless 79 mph; only three left the bat at 90 mph or more. He walked none and struck out four.None of that, however, is what anyone will remember about Maeda’s first major league game.Batting in the fourth inning against Andrew Cashner, Maeda powerfully pulled a pitch into the left-field stands for a home run. It was only the third home run he’d hit on any continent as a professional.Confidence, then, will not be an issue for Maeda against the Diamondbacks.“I’m relieved that I was able to get the first win right away,” he said. “Being able to pitch well was important for me.”When he was contemplating the order for the Dodgers’ starting rotation in spring training, manager Dave Roberts considered his second, third and fourth starters — Maeda, Scott Kazmir and Alex Wood — “interchangeable.” So Maeda effectively drew Tuesday’s start by chance. But Maeda has proved himself worthy of the home opener. Roberts and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt have been impressed by Maeda’s command of all four of his pitches (fastball, slider, curve ball, changeup). His home run impressed everyone.In general, Maeda’s transition to America has been smooth. Pitching every fifth day as opposed to every sixth hasn’t been an issue, though he’ll have an extra day of rest between his first and second starts by virtue of an off-day Monday. The options for good Japanese food in Los Angeles aren’t lacking, he said.An eight-year contract, worth a guaranteed $25 million, wasn’t Maeda’s only incentive in coming here.“Here I found it surprising that family can ride on the team bus,” he said. “That’s not allowed in Japan.”Behind closed doors, Maeda continues to observe two quirky traditions that he brought over from Japan. One has been the subject of gifs and Vines for months now: An arm-waving exercise dubbed the “Maeken dance” that Maeda performs before every game. He does it indoors now, after performing the ritual on the field in Japan.The other tradition is common among Japanese players, one Maeda says he picked up a couple years ago. In his locker is a hard black Mizuno bag with his name stitched on the outside in Japanese. His custom glove goes inside.“If I don’t put it in that glove case, if I just put it in the bag, it’s squished on top of other peoples’ bags,” he said. “It just flattens out.”Not many major league players have their own glove case, but then Maeda’s way of doing things seems to be working pretty well here. If it doesn’t, at least people know how to reach him.K-PopWhen Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda homered in his first game Wednesday in San Diego, he became:• The third starting pitcher since 2000 to hit a home run in his major league debut.• The first starting pitcher to do so since Washington’s Tommy Milone on Sept 3, 2011.• The first Dodger to hit a home run in his major league debut since Jose Offerman on Aug. 19, 1990.• The first Dodgers pitcher to do so since Dan Bankhead on Aug. 26, 1947. SAN FRANCISCO >> The phrase “happy wife, happy life” is not common in Japanese. Maybe it should be. Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda read through more than 100 text messages, emails and congratulatory words after his first major league game Wednesday. By the weekend, he’d answered them all. None meant more to the pitcher than what his wife, Saho, said.“She was especially happy with the way it turned out,” Maeda said through his interpreter. “I’m glad she was happy with the way everything worked out in the first game.”Maeda, who will start the Dodgers’ home opener today against the Arizona Diamondbacks, still hasn’t allowed a run in six major league innings. His debut in San Diego was only the second-best by a Dodgers rookie last week; on Friday, Ross Stripling threw 7 1/3 no-hit innings in San Francisco. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Negotiations reached that point just as Jansen’s friends and family — including Dodgers teammates Yasiel Puig, Scott Van Slyke and Turner — were gathering in his native Curacao for Jansen’s wedding. According to Jansen, the Dodgers came through with a nice wedding present, increasing their contract offer and adding a fifth year.“I think it might have been on my wedding day or the day before,” Jansen said. “The offer changed significantly. … The plan was to make that call with them at the end. To see them make that offer, make that effort at the end, it was huge for me.“I knew from Day One I didn’t want to take this uniform off.”Turner arrived in Curacao for the wedding in the final stages of his own negotiations. At a dinner with Van Slyke, Turner said his teammate “asked some tough questions (about where he would be signing) and I’m sure he probably had the same questions for Kenley, too.” But Turner said there was very little business talk and no hard sell among the Dodgers in attendance that weekend.“The first couple days we were there, there wasn’t a single word spoken about baseball,” Turner said. “It was all about going down to Curacao, Kenley showing us around, showing us his country, showing us where he’s from. He took us out on his boat. It was really refreshing actually, to not have any baseball talks.“When it actually came up was in his room the day of his wedding. He was getting a haircut. … It just kind of came about. We were talking about both of our situations, what was going on, what was happening. I don’t think either one of us was trying to pressure anyone to make any decision. We were just kind of laying out the options and different situations and experiences.“I left the room and Scott Van Slyke and Yasiel Puig came in. I don’t know what their conversations were. Whatever happened, at the end of that night I got on a plane the next morning, jumped over to the next island over, Aruba, and sure enough I saw on my phone that he’d agreed to be a Dodger. I was extremely happy.”By the time Turner’s vacation in Aruba was over, he had agreed to his own four-year, $64 million contract, less than what one of the National League’s best third baseman might have gotten had he chased the last dollar more aggressively on the open market.“As much as you want to go out and test the waters — I had this conversation with Kenley – it’s not always greener on the other side when you go to another organization,” Turner said. “As good as they may make it seem it’s going to be for you, you don’t necessarily know what you’re getting yourself into. With the Dodgers, obviously being here the last three years, I knew exactly who was here.“I love the staff, (manager) Dave Roberts and what he’s done, the guys he’s put into place, what they mean and what they stand for. I love being a Dodger. I love being in the community. I’ve got a lot of stuff going on right here in this city where I grew up not too far from and really wanted to continue those relationships, keep building on it. We have some unfinished business too.” “It ain’t about the money all the time, man,” said Jansen who will nonetheless make at least $80 million over the next five seasons.Turner’s departure never seemed as imminent. But he did laugh off a recent report that he was so committed to returning to Los Angeles that he didn’t bother cleaning out his locker at Dodger Stadium following the season and continued to go through his offseason workouts there.“Yeah, I read the same thing,” Turner said Wednesday with a laugh. “That wasn’t the case. I think Kenley and I cleaned out our lockers probably the same day and headed out of here.“Getting to free agency is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It’s so hard to get there for guys. You do want to explore and you do want to see the other options. But obviously my experience here with the Dodgers had a pretty big weight on it in making that decision and what was going to happen. So it’s nice to be courted. It’s nice to be desired by other teams. But at the end of the day, I’m happy to be right here and I get to put on a Dodger uniform again.”Jansen came very close to trying on a different uniform. He was aggressively pursued by both the Nationals and Miami Marlins. But all along, he said he had a difficult time imagining himself making that break away from the organization that “gave me a second opportunity” in baseball, converting the failed catcher into a closer. That reluctance to make a break was evident in Jansen having his agent, Adam Katz, tell the Dodgers they would get a chance to make the final offer before Jansen signed with anyone else. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LOS ANGELES >> There was no doubt about one thing going into baseball’s offseason — Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner were going to be very rich.But the fact that both were standing in front of cameras at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday afternoon holding up the same Dodgers uniforms they wore last season was a bit of an upset.“A few days before my wedding, it seemed like I was going to Washington,” Jansen said a few minutes after the press conference making the December signings of both free agents official. “But after the Dodgers came in at the end, I couldn’t leave. I wanted to stay.”That he stayed a Dodger even though the Nationals offered a more lucrative contract was a surprise even to Jansen who admitted “from Day One” in the free-agent process he expected to sign with whatever team “would give me the most money.”
Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw have ‘open dialogue’ with his opt-out looming If Friday’s homer had a little more significance than your average Cactus League homer, everything Kemp does this spring will be watched more closely. The Dodgers’ efforts to move his contract were unsuccessful during the offseason but have not ended. How he plays this spring could give those efforts a boost – or put Kemp more clearly in the Dodgers’ plans for this season.“I don’t know. You tell me,” Kemp joked when asked if he felt more eyes following him this spring.“Of course. I think that’s obvious. I mean, it is what it is. I played in L.A. for a pretty long time so I’ve always had eyes on me.”Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will have his eyes on Kemp. But he admitted he is more interested in seeing what Kemp looks like in left field than at the plate.Related Articles Dodgers playing it safe with Austin Barnes’ sore elbow Dodgers, KTLA reach agreement to simulcast 5 early-season games Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error GLENDALE, Ariz. — Been here, done this.Wearing a Dodgers uniform in a game for the first time since the 2014 National League Division Series, Matt Kemp went 2 for 2 with a three-run home run that evoked memories of a bygone era – the 2006 through 2014 seasons when Kemp hit 182 regular-season home runs for the Dodgers.“Oh, heck yeah. The fans standing up? That was pretty cool, for sure,” Kemp said of being cheered by Dodgers fans again.“It was exciting to me. Here, the fans like to come to spring training so the games are always exciting. I got a pretty warm welcome. It’s better than the Dodgers fans booing me when I was on the other side. It was exciting.” Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez, who went from setup man to whipping boy, tries to move on “We haven’t seen Matt in a few years,” Roberts said. “So for us to see him and see how his body is moving … it’s really not in the batter’s box. He’s been very productive throughout his career (offensively). Obviously there are good seasons and there are not so good seasons but in the batter’s box he’s been pretty consistent with production. The dropoff has been defensively. I think that’s something Matt’s very clear on and for us to keep an eye on.” Slimmed down by 40 pounds since last season, Kemp wasn’t tested defensively in Friday’s game – “Hey, I caught my first ball today so I’m doing good,” he joked. But all indications are he has accepted the challenge to reverse his defensive regression.“Being in shape and feeling good is going to make playing defense easier,” Kemp said. “Hit and play defense. That’s going to win games.”PUIG’S HIPRoberts said Yasiel Puig was originally in the lineup for Friday’s Cactus League opener but was scratched due to a sore hip. Roberts said the issue was not serious and blamed Puig’s new cleats for causing the problem.“He had a different pair of shoes that he’s breaking in,” Roberts said. “He didn’t put his orthotics in.”Puig did go through the Dodgers’ full workout Friday and Roberts said he will start one of the team’s split-squad games Saturday.TV GUIDEThe Dodgers and KTLA have once again reached agreement to simulcast some early regular-season games on SportsNet LA and KTLA5.Five games (including SportsNet LA’s pre-game show) will be simulcast during the first month of the regular season – Friday March 30 against the San Francisco Giants, Saturday April 7 also against the Giants, Friday April 13 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Saturday April 21 against the Washington Nationals and Saturday April 28 from San Francisco.The release announcing the simulcast agreement also included this statement on the status of the ongoing distribution issues that have limited access to Dodgers broadcasts – “SportsNet LA and Dodgers games are exclusively available on Charter’s Spectrum service and other distributors are not expected to carry SportsNet LA this season.”WAIVER WIREThe Dodgers claimed right-hander J.T. Chargois off waivers from the Minnesota Twins on Friday. Chargois, 27, made 25 relief appearances for the Twins in 2016, going 1-1 with a 4.70 ERA. Originally a second-round pick out of Rice University in 2012, Chargois had Tommy John surgery in 2013 and missed nearly all of last season due to a stress reaction in his elbow.In order to clear a 40-man roster spot for Chargois, left-hander Julio Urias was placed on the 60-day DL. Urias is recovering from shoulder surgery and won’t be available to pitch until late in the season. Dodgers hit 4 home runs to beat White Sox in Cactus League opener
“They’re (league officials) coming to town soon, and so it looks good if we move this item, because it demonstrates to them our commitment to working with them,” Cedillo, who represents the stadium area, told the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee last week. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Dodger Stadium hasn’t hosted an All-Star Game since 1980. (2018 photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)LOS ANGELES >> In a move to help the Dodgers secure the 2020 Major League All-Star Game, the Los Angeles City Council signed off Wednesday on a motion to negotiate a contract with the team over the use of city resources associated with the event.The Dodgers have not hosted an MLB All-Star Game since 1980, and Councilman Gil Cedillo said league officials will be vising Los Angeles soon to scout Dodger Stadium as a potential site for the game.The motion authorizes the city to receive $100,000 from the Dodgers as payment for the provision of city services that may be required to host the game, and for city staff to negotiate a contract with the team.Hosting an All-Star game brings an average economic impact of $89.4 million to host cities, according to the motion.
But Friedman sees it as a storm the Dodgers will eventually pass through. With the non-waiver trade deadline about six weeks away, he does not anticipate searching the market for starting pitching help.“It is (a need) for the next week or two. But, no, we expect to get all these guys back in June and July which is going to put us in really good position,” Friedman said. “The silver lining of some of the injuries is obviously Walker’s performance and Strip’s performance which gives us even more confidence about our rotation as we look ahead.“We don’t need to (trade for starting pitching). Does that mean we won’t? I don’t know. But we don’t need to.”They did prove Wednesday that they can take starting pitchers off the DL as well as put them on it.Right-hander Kenta Maeda returned from his right hip strain to start against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night. Left-hander Rich Hill might not be far behind. Dodgers’ hot-hitting Corey Seager leaves game with back injury Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.Hill will make a rehab start with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday. He is expected to go four or five innings, possibly as many as 75 pitches, to test the blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. Hill has not pitched since he left his May 19 start after throwing only two pitches. But he has thrown multiple times in the bullpen and in simulated-game situations over the past two weeks since the blister calloused over.If Hill’s rehab start goes well, he could rejoin the Dodgers’ rotation during next week’s three-game series in Chicago. The idea of bringing him back in a relief role, testing the sustainability of his finger in that way for a time, has been dropped, according to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.Before Hill returns, though, rookie left-hander Caleb Ferguson will most likely make another start. Ferguson was not sent back to Triple-A on Wednesday to clear a spot for Maeda’s return (reliever Daniel Corcino was optioned back to Oklahoma City instead), a good indication that Ferguson will make another start on Sunday.In a more long-range development that could help the rotation, left-hander Clayton Kershaw threw another bullpen session Wednesday, a more extensive session than Sunday’s brief time on the mound. Roberts and Friedman were among those watching Kershaw, who has been on the DL with a lower back strain since May 31.“It was good,” Friedman said of the throwing session. “I wasn’t looking to see anything more than just normal delivery, ball out of hand. And those boxes were checked. … Every step along the way has been good.”Friedman said it was “a good sign” that Kershaw has been throwing off a mound less than two weeks after sustaining the injury. But he would not offer an educated guess on what this might mean for Kershaw’s return to the rotation.“I don’t think in terms of the date to expect him back then work backwards. I work forwards. I really do,” Friedman said. “As he’s progressing, today was a really big step to get off the mound then it’s – how does he come out of that? Then it’s – what is the next step to do in a responsible way. … It’s not so much thinking about that end date (when he can return). It’s more – what’s right in front of us?”ALSORight-hander Ross Stripling will start Friday on normal rest with left-hander Alex Wood moved back a day to Saturday. Wood will be pitching on six days’ rest. He has pitched on four days’ rest just once since April as the Dodgers try to nurse the adductor muscle injury in his left leg.“There are some things he’s been dealing with over the last month,” Roberts said. “But over the course of the last four or five days, he’s trended in the right way. He’s close to 100 percent. For me, it’s just more of being encouraged by the progression.”UP NEXTThe Dodgers are off Thursday.Giants (LHP Derek Holland, 4-6, 4.54 ERA) at Dodgers (RHP Ross Stripling, 5-1, 1.65 ERA), Friday, 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA (where available)Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Dodgers’ Dave Roberts says baseball’s unwritten rules ‘have changed, should change’ Dodgers bench slumping Cody Bellinger for a day Dodgers’ Justin Turner looking rejuvenated on defense LOS ANGELES — Andrew Friedman’s days recently haven’t been totally consumed by figuring out who would start the next game for the Dodgers.“Only 94 percent,” the Dodgers president of baseball operations joked.The Dodgers have weathered a stretch that saw them put six starting pitchers on the disabled list. And Friedman has no theory to explain how that confluence of blisters and backs, microfractures and strains happened.“I have no idea,” Friedman said. “If you had told me at the end of the year this is what happened during the 2018 season, I would get it and understand. For it all to happen at the same time is something that feels like lottery odds.” Whicker: Dustin May yet another example of the Dodgers’ eye for pitching
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said the direct impact of Dodger Stadium hosting an All-Star Game is expected to reach $89 million in spending. But wait, there’s more.“There’s ancillary parties, people who will rent out the Grammy Museum, be at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, people spend money in restaurants, nightclubs, they do special events,” Garcetti said. “All those things have multiplier effects.”And how does that compare to L.A.’s other big events next year?“This will be the biggest event of 2020,” Garcetti said. “Things like the Oscars and Grammys are big, but not as many people participate them in directly.”3. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes?Baseball made sweeping changes to its All-Star election process and Home Run Derby incentives this year. I asked Manfred what kind of feedback he’s received so far, and whether that might lead to changes between this year and next year.“When we finish – we’re just out of Cleveland – we always take a look at what we’ve done,” he said. “We take into consideration that this is a very different city from Cleveland in terms of the layout of the various venues, so we always look at those things and try to tailor the program of events to fit the city, taking into account what worked well and what didn’t the year before.”4. Other odds and endsRoss Yoshida is the Dodgers’ principal graphic designer, but he wasn’t responsible for the All-Star Game logo. The design team was employed by MLB, which runs the event. … Walter O’Malley had an indirect influence on the renovation plans. … Gambling in the stadium and naming rights for various portions of the stadium are also reportedly under consideration for 2020. … The only other known statue of Sandy Koufax is in Massachusetts.-J.P.More Dodgers readingHosed – Two Angels outfielders threw runners out at home plate in the Dodgers’ loss Tuesday.Stay hot – “It’s pretty easy to make an argument that (Gavin) Lux is the hottest hitter in the Minor Leagues,” writes MLB.com’s William Boor.Getting to know you – Dodgers minor leaguers Luis Rodriguez and Josiah Gray made Prospects 360’s list of the top fringe prospects in the game. 1. The commissioner didn’t mandate expanded netting at Dodger Stadium.The Dodgers revealed plans to expand netting back in June. Commissioner Rob Manfred said this wasn’t mandated as a condition of the stadium receiving the 2020 All-Star Game.“I have been careful about individual ballparks,” he said Tuesday. “Our approach has been consistent. The clubs have been very really forthcoming over the last five years about extending netting. We have a lot more netting than we’ve ever had. I think you’re seeing a new wave of changes, a number of clubs have already announced. I think others will. Each stadium is constructed differently and it’s really an issue that while we encourage the clubs, we most appropriately leave it to them to decide when and how they’re going to expand their netting.”In fact, Manfred said none of the stadium upgrades announced Tuesday were required as conditions for receiving the All-Star Game. As for the netting, my understanding is that some key details are still being worked out. I was told only to expect them by the end of this season, not necessarily in August (as was reported elsewhere Tuesday). The nets will definitely be widened, and possibly heightened as well.2. This is a big event, even for Los Angeles. Editor’s note: This is the Wednesday, July 24 edition of the Inside the Dodgers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.There was a lot of news to be gleaned at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. Sandy Koufax is getting a statue. Dodger Stadium is getting a perimeter concourse around the outfield, new elevators, new escalators, and two acres of re-imagined space beyond the outfield bleachers among $100 million of renovations.Oh, and the Dodgers are getting the 2020 All-Star Game – but you knew that already.I wanted to use this newsletter to unload a few things easily overlooked amid all the hoopla, the videos, the logo unveiling, and a rare public appearance by Vin Scully. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error