02/18/2013 5:37 PM ET
Kershaw baffles hitters in first live BP session
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitchers threw live batting practice Monday for the first time this spring on Monday, and the lucky batters to draw Clayton Kershaw first out of the chute were Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford.
"Aw man, the first curveball, that can mess up your whole day," moaned Kemp.
"Is that Koufax?" asked Jerry Hairston, who was in the second hitting group.
Most of the players simply tracked pitches without swinging.
"A couple guys took swings," said catcher A.J. Ellis, "and they were embarrassed."
Manager Don Mattingly said these are the days hitters hate the most, and Kershaw helped explain why.
"I try to get a lot out of this," he said. "I treat it like a game. That's how you get your work in. I've got to go full bore to figure out my mechanics. I give it all I got. When hitters are in there, it's hard for me to tone it down.
"The best comment I got was from Hairston. He said I'll be a good player one day. That's a nice comment from the salty vet on the team."
Gordon likely to end up in Minors for more seasoning
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Hanley Ramirez has signaled to management with words and actions that he's all-in to play shortstop this year, so where does that leave Dee Gordon?
"Dee for me, I'm not going to forget about Dee," said manager Don Mattingly. "He's dynamic and he's going to be dynamic. Really, we probably had him here before he should have been here last year and he ended up paying a price. That's kind of on us. We've seen him struggle and have frustration in different areas, but part of that is our own fault for pushing him fast and getting him here before he was quite ready. I look at Dee with a world of talent. He's going to be great."
Just maybe not this year on this team. If Ramirez is the starting shortstop, Mattingly all but said Gordon would be returned to the Minor Leagues for continued seasoning.
"If it gets to that situation, you don't do a guy a whole lot of good sitting and watching games when he needs the experience of just playing," he said. "Young guys, you don't want them sitting on the bench. If that was the case, we'll do what's best for him and what's best for him in the long run."
Mattingly also changed the framing of the decision-making with Ramirez, who was told by management at the end of last season that he needed to improve his defense if he wanted to be the shortstop. Otherwise, he'd be moved to third base.
"We went to Spring Training with the idea of Hanley playing shortstop for us, and everybody is happy with the way Hanley looks," said Mattingly. "The only one to move Hanley is Hanley. As long as he's working, the feeling is he'll be fine and that's the way we're going. Anything can happen, different scenarios can change things, but I'm not going to move Hanley. Hanley is going to move Hanley, if he's going to get move."
And Mattingly indicated again there is no management sentiment that Gordon should be moved to the outfield, as has been speculated.
Kasten outlines Dodgers clubhouse renovations
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After briefing the team on the ongoing renovations of the Dodger Stadium clubhouse, club president Stan Kasten on Monday provided the media with an update too.
"We knew it was the world's worst clubhouse," said Kasten. "I said to Sandy [Koufax], 'It was substandard in your day,' and it hadn't been fixed since."
Well, it's being fixed now. Displaying overlay blueprints, Kasten explained that the home clubhouse will be "almost twice the square footage" of the previous locker room area, accomplished by excavating a second level. That was necessary because the original design of the stadium was set in a natural bowl against the hillside, making access from outside the stadium impossible.
The new facility will have a bigger trainer's room, weight room, aqua area, interview room and conference room. There will be a kitchen with a chef and nutritionist, rather than having meals catered from outside vendors. There will be a "quiet room," although nobody's really sure what that's about.
Two batting cages will be under the new clubhouse and, for the first time in stadium history, the visiting team will have a separate batting cage. Previously, visiting players had to walk through the home clubhouse area to access the batting cage and weight room.
"That's what I'm most excited about," said manager Don Mattingly. "The other team doesn't walk through our clubhouse. That was really weird. We came in with New York in '04 and went to the cage and, where are we? In their locker room? That's not a good situation."
Kasten said the first stab at renovation plans were expanded at the direction of chairman Mark Walter.
"He said to make it bigger," said Kasten. "He wanted it more like your favorite health club, a place where they like to work out. We want to provide a facility with the best chance to extend their careers. Mark was the real motivator.
"The architects tell me it's the largest in the Major Leagues. The latest, the newest, the most modern equipment."
Kasten said the concrete has been poured to put the field level back together, and he insists "all the important stuff" will be done by Opening Day.
• Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen had an ingrown toenail cut out of his big right toe after Monday's practice.
Jansen's toe was wrapped tightly to stem the bleeding, but he said he was confident he would be back on the field for practice on Tuesday. He is expected to pitch live batting practice on Wednesday.
• Reliever Chris Withrow went to a back specialist, expecting to receive an epidural injection for the bulging disk in his lower back. But doctors told him he was making rapid progress and they would hold off on the injection.
Withrow, who has had two previous lower back episodes in his career, is increasingly confident he will return to the field soon.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.