Dodgers patient with Anderson in new role
Veteran working through struggles as pinch-hitter
PHOENIX -- Garret Anderson is batting .122 and is 0-for-13 against left-handed pitching, but Dodgers management is sticking with him as he tries to reinvent himself as a pinch-hitter after a career as an everyday player.
"I see a player struggling to adjust to a new role," general manager Ned Colletti said. "One at-bat five times a week, it's very tough."
But it's also the role Anderson accepted when he came to training camp late. He is 3-for-19 (.158) with one homer and three RBIs as a pinch-hitter and had an 0-for-17 stretch snapped by an RBI pinch-single Wednesday. He has 14 strikeouts in 49 at-bat.
Anderson said he hasn't lost confidence, but concedes that the transition hasn't been easy.
"I'm keeping the right frame of mind regardless of how bad the start is going," Anderson said. "Every time up I think I'm going to get a hit and I look forward to producing. My mind-set is positive every day. I'm sure the infrequent game action has something to do with it, not being able to work things out in a game setting. But it's not getting me down. I look forward to coming to the park every day."
Said manager Joe Torre: "We're trying to get him as many at-bats to make it easier on him. I see a timing thing. Is he the same player he was at one time? No. But he comes out of the dugout with a couple men on base and he'll scare the heck out of me. That's a big part of having him as a weapon."
Kuroda returns to scene of scary incident
PHOENIX -- Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda takes the Chase Field mound Wednesday for the first time since being carted off it and taken to a hospital after being hit on the head by a Rusty Ryal line drive last Aug. 15.
Kuroda said he is not hesitant about the start or worried about a replay.
"What happened, happened," he said Tuesday. "Now I forget it. I don't really worry about something in the past. Other than when I'm asked by the media, I don't reflect on it."
At the time there seemed plenty to worry about. Kuroda suffered a concussion and now believes a herniated disk in his neck that ruined his postseason was a lingering result of the incident. He said he's watched the video several times. At the time, he said he was lucky to be alive.
"I wanted to see how I was hit," he said, explaining why he's watched the incident in game tapes. "I don't have a fear about watching the video. On the mound, you're a different person."
The Kuroda incident was reminiscent of a more serious injury suffered by another Dodgers pitcher from Japan -- Kazuhisa Ishii, who was struck in the forehead by a line drive off the bat of Houston Astros outfielder Brian Hunter in a twilight game at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 8, 2002. Ishii suffered a fractured skull and required surgery.
It was the second time a pitcher had been struck in the head by a line drive at Chase Field (then called Bank One Ballpark). Houston's Billy Wagner was drilled in 1998 by Kelly Stinnett.
Ortiz encouraged by earning Friday's nod
PHOENIX -- Despite a one-batter relief appearance Tuesday night, Ramon Ortiz will start as scheduled Friday night in San Diego, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
It will be Ortiz's first Major League start since May 26, 2007, for Minnesota. He spent 2008 playing in Japan and 2009 at Triple-A for the Giants. He made the Dodgers' Opening Day roster on a Minor League contract and has made 13 relief appearances.
He earned the start by picking up in the first inning for Charlie Haeger on Saturday and pitching five innings, allowing two runs. Manager Joe Torre inserted Ortiz after the Thursday day off to give the rest of the rotation an extra day of rest.
"I'm very happy when they told me," said Ortiz, who turns 37 this month. "It surprised me. It's been a long time, almost two years. I'm a very positive guy. I knew I could do this, being back in the big leagues. I never think about retiring or anything. My arm is good. If I throw 90 [mph], I'm OK, I'll keep going. When I can throw only 85, I'll go home."
Furcal plays six innings in rehab start
PHOENIX -- Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal went 0-for-2 with a walk and strikeout while playing shortstop for six innings Tuesday night in a Minor League rehabilitation assignment at Class A Inland Empire.
Furcal, on the 15-day disabled list while recovering from a slight left hamstring strain, is expected to play a second game for Inland Empire on Wednesday, then rejoin the Dodgers and be activated for Friday night's series opener against the Padres in San Diego.
Yanks series requires mini-plan, season tickets
PHOENIX -- Fans wanting to see the Dodgers play the Yankees at Dodger Stadium next month must purchase mini-plans or season tickets, because tickets will not be available on an individual game basis, the club announced Tuesday.
In a media release, the club explained that "an overwhelming volume of requests from current season ticket holders" prompted the decision. A limited number of tickets for the June 25-27 series will be made available to those season ticket holders, as the club does for Opening Day and the postseason.
According to the release, the mini-plan starts as low as $9 per seat for a ticket to seven different home games on the Top Deck. For seven games in the All-You-Can-Eat Right Field pavilion, the mini-plan costs $28 per game. Mini-plans are available on the Reserved Level starting at $12, Loge Level for $40 and Field Level starting at $45 per game.
In addition, fans can secure tickets to two of the three Yankee games by purchasing a 21-game plan for $9 per seat. Season tickets for all remaining home games start as low as $8 per seat.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.