03/09/2013 7:30 PM ET
Gregg showing he can contribute out of 'pen
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly got another look at his bullpen Saturday with scoreless innings from Brandon League, Kenley Jansen, J.P. Howell, Shawn Tolleson and Paco Rodriguez.
But Mattingly made a point of mentioning the perfect inning from Kevin Gregg, the former closer looking to rebound from a disappointing 2012 as a non-roster invitee on a very crowded pitching staff. Mattingly also isn't quite sure how the Dodgers got Gregg on a Minor League deal.
"He's a strike thrower," said Mattingly. "He's big (6-6, 220). He came here in good shape, he throws strikes. He gets outs. Okay. He's a guy with experience and all of a sudden he doesn't get a look for a big-league job?"
Gregg rose to the role of closer for five years with the Marlins, Cubs, Blue Jays and Orioles. His 144 career saves are more than League, Jansen, Howell, Javy Guerra and Ronald Belisario combined.
Gregg, 34, was 3-2 with a 4.95 ERA last year with Baltimore before being released in September. He can't explain why he couldn't land a Major League contract. But he can explain why he's held opponents scoreless in four Spring appearances, allowing only one hit in five innings.
"I'm trying to win a spot on the team," he said. "I took a long, hard look in the mirror after last year, and I knew what I had to do. Now I've got to keep showing them."
Gregg said he can't worry about the number of pitchers he'll have to pass to make the Opening Day roster. All he can do is pitch well enough so somebody wants him and it could be the Dodgers, who otherwise have the makings of a young bullpen. He was philosophical about looking for a job despite a legit resume.
"I'm not bitter," he said. "The game is interesting. You play long enough, you understand the business, the politics and you go forward. A long time ago I was in Oakland and a guy told me that one team's trash is another team's gem. Sometimes it doesn't work with one team, you just roll with the punches. I'm here to throw strikes, to show I'm healthy and I'll let the rest speak for itself."
Mattingly sees Ethier as everyday player
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Don Mattingly hasn't seen enough of Andre Ethier this Spring to tell if his approach against left-handed pitching has improved dramatically, but he's seen enough to know that Ethier is still his every-day right fielder.
"I'm not going to platoon him," the Dodgers manager said of Ethier, who hit only .222 against lefties last year compared to .325 against righties. "I do look at him as an everyday player."
That said, Mattingly plans to sit Ethier against occasional left-handed starters and didn't rule out using a pinch-hitter against left-handed relievers that have given Ethier trouble.
"I know 'Dre enough to know there are days he mentally wears down," Mattingly said. "Certain guys wear you out and that's a good day for a day off. Two days ahead you know they're pitching. Those guys put you in a bad mood. So you don't fight that battle. When Randy Johnson is throwing, am I going to play? If you know ahead, you can kind of empty the tank.
"It's tough for me to pinch-hit for Andre, but he's one of the guys you've got to be willing to look at the numbers and get Jerry [Hairston] in the right situation. Sometimes you want to give the other manager a doubt about righty or lefty. But in general, I don't think about pinch-hitting for Andre."
Mattingly said he believes new hitting coach Mark McGwire is making progress in changing the mental approach of Dodgers hitters in general and Ethier in particular.
"Big Mac is starting to get them to understand what the pitcher is trying to do to you," he said. "This is the right time for that. I've said all along Andre can hit lefties. He was killing them down here last year and early in the season. I can't say I've seen enough that he's going to hit them, but he looks really good against them. I think it's there. I hope the time is right."
Seager brothers happy for Spring Training visit
GLENDALE, Ariz. - They didn't face each other in a game, but at least the Dodgers carted shortstop prospect Corey Seager from their Minor League complex to the Mariners clubhouse before Saturday's game to say hello to Seattle's starting third baseman: his brother, Kyle.
"We talked about it during the offseason, how great it would be to play against each other," said Kyle.
Instead, Kyle escorted Corey into the Seattle clubhouse to meet his teammates.
Kyle, 25, is coming off his first full season as a starter, having hit 20 homers with 86 RBIs. Corey, still 18, was drafted in the first round last year by the Dodgers, signed for a $2.35 million bonus and hit .309 at Rookie level Ogden.
Corey, at 6-foot-4, is four inches taller than his big-league brother, but the Dodgers have kept him at shortstop, even though many scouts believe he will wind up at third base because of his size.
Harang remains focused despite trade rumors
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Aaron Harang said Saturday he can't worry about the scouts and trade rumors that accompany his every outing.
"I don't even think about that," Harang said after allowing two runs in three innings to Seattle. "We know they're in the stands. I look at them as fans as well. I'm not worried about that. Just throw your game and try to be successful every outing."
Harang has emerged as the most likely pitcher the Dodgers will deal from the eight starting pitchers they have with guaranteed contracts.
"I know how it works," said Harang. "It's not a surprise. There's always people watching. It's different when you're a kid. This is my 12th season. Everyone knows what they get from me. They know what to expect. I just make sure I'm ready to pitch."
Neither Harang nor manager Don Mattingly was concerned about the six hits he allowed.
"It was typical Aaron," said Mattingly. "He kind of bends but doesn't [break]. He gets it out of the way and throws zeros. That's how he was all last year. He knows who he is and what he's doing. He keeps himself in the game."
Crawford, Kemp continue to make steady progress
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It's still more than three weeks until Opening Day and that's a good thing for the Dodgers, as Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford will need it.
Kemp went 0-for-3 with two more strikeouts Saturday and is now hitless in 11 at-bats with five strikeouts since left shoulder surgery.
"He just needs time," said manager Don Mattingly. "Have to give him at-bats. He's coming off pretty good surgery. He's a little bit behind guys. He's not been able to get after it. Got to look at him as still behind, but he'll catch up. It's a matter of timing, nothing but at-bats."
Crawford, after taking a week off to calm down nerve irritation in his left elbow, is increasing his workload daily since resuming hitting Thursday. He's hit off a tee, off soft toss and a little overhand. The medical department is increasing his drills methodically to avoid, or pinpoint the cause of, any recurrence in the discomfort that is not unusual for Tommy John surgery.
The calendar, however, is working against Crawford in his goal to be ready for Opening Day, as he hasn't resumed throwing yet and will need some period of time before he's strong enough to make a throw in from left field without risking overuse in the process.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.