03/30/08 8:38 PM ET
Dodgers don't put stock in spring mark
Despite just 11 wins, club is ready to kick off regular season
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
In three states and on two continents, the Dodgers did just about everything imaginable this barnstorming spring -- except play winning baseball.
Even with Sunday's impressive 8-0 victory over the defending World Series champion Red Sox in the exhibition finale, the Dodgers won only 11 of 32 games. On the 50th anniversary of their Los Angeles arrival, they've responded to new manager Joe Torre's arrival with the fewest spring wins in 25 years (excluding the 1990 lockout).
So what? In 1983, after going 11-17 in March, the Dodgers won the division. In 2004, when a 12-22 result set the Los Angeles record for worst spring winning percentage, they won the division.
What does a losing spring mean?
"Nothing," said catcher Russell Martin, a Silver Slugger who batted .215. "We're more than ready. There's such a difference in the intensity. You can try to simulate it in a way, but everything's different when it counts. That's when you step it up a notch. Who had the best Spring Training last year? Nobody remembers, because it doesn't matter."
Torre expressed concern a week ago about the club's lack of fundamental execution, but he said there has been improvement over the past week. He said he had rookie Blake DeWitt bunt Sunday with a five-run lead for the experience.
"A Minor League player in the middle of the lineup is not used to bunting, but I might need for somebody to do it a time or two," said Torre. "I did that to give him the practice."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.