03/20/2013 9:20 PM ET
Lack of fanfare motivates Federowicz
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With little fanfare, Tim Federowicz won the Dodgers' backup catcher job this week.
Federowicz is something of an expert at little fanfare, but he's not expecting this to be the peak of his career.
"I've always been under the radar," said Federowicz, 25. "I've been overlooked and it's bothered me a lot. It's given me motivation. There are still a lot of people that don't know about me as a player and I have a chance to show them. Only time will tell."
Federowicz hasn't been under the Dodgers' radar. They went after him hard in 2011 when they didn't realize what A.J. Ellis would become. They acquired Federowicz from the Red Sox in the Trayvon Robinson trade and projected him to be starting by now, but Ellis has earned that role.
Meanwhile, Federowicz has showed that he doesn't belong in Triple-A anymore. In past years, the Dodgers probably would have signed a veteran backup and sent Federowicz back down, but not this time.
One of Ellis' strengths is pregame preparation, breaking down scouting reports to know opponents' tendencies. Federowicz said he's eager to spend a season learning from Ellis.
Federowicz also said he's determined to prove he's more than just a defensive specialist. It's all part of being overlooked as an eighth-round Draft pick in 2008, the year four catchers were taken in the first round, led by the Giants' Buster Posey.
"I've always been considered a good defensive catcher with a strong arm who likes to throw," Federowicz said. "But I'm a lot better hitter than people think -- line drive, gap-to-gap. In college, I never had an approach at the plate, until pro ball. I just went up and hit. I think I can hit in the big leagues. I'm not a .210 hitter. I've hit at every level. I have a solid approach. I'm not worried about it."
Kershaw's agents spotted at training complex
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Clayton Kershaw's agents were at the Dodgers Camelback Ranch training complex on Wednesday, immediately fueling speculation that a contract extension for the team's ace was in the works.
"Nothing to talk about," said Kershaw.
Read into that as you wish.
It should be noted that Kershaw's agents, Casey Close and J.D. Smart, also represent Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke and were in the stands Wednesday watching as Greinke returned from a sore elbow to pitch four innings of a Minor League game.
The timing of the agents' appearance is worth noting, however, because when Spring Training opened, Kershaw said that if negotiations took place, he wouldn't let them go into the season. The season opens in 12 days.
Kershaw, 25, will earn $11 million this year in the final season of a two-year deal and is not eligible for free agency until after the 2014 season.
Greinke encouraged after strong Minor League start
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Zack Greinke said his elbow wasn't an issue during a four-inning Minor League start on Wednesday and he should have enough time to be ready for the opening of the regular season.
"I wasn't worried about it today, I wasn't worried about it the last time I pitched. When I threw a pitch, I wasn't worried about the throw," Greinke said.
Greinke, in his first game action since March 2, threw 43 pitches and used his entire repertoire against a White Sox Minor League team, with regular catcher A.J. Ellis receiving. Greinke is scheduled to pitch again on Monday and then again on March 30, then would be in line to start for the Dodgers on April 5.
"My arm felt really good today, really strong," Greinke said. "Just my pitches aren't 100 percent crisp yet, but I don't know if anyone in the locker room is yet. My command is not perfect, but it won't be during the season. I wouldn't want to pitch like this when I'm pitching my first game of the season."
Greinke said when he returned from a broken rib last Spring Training, he also made only three rehab starts before pitching in a real game, the last one going four innings.
"I'm already a step ahead of the last time," Greinke said.
He said his workload on Wednesday was just right.
"It wasn't perfect command and you saw me upset with several pitches," Greinke said. "My first outing in two weeks, I guess it's kind of what I expected. My fastball was the best of everything. I threw sliders, curves, change and a cutter. Four innings, I got a little tired the last two hitters, kind of perfect. Just what you want to do without doing too much to hurt yourself."
Greinke missed a bullpen session with elbow discomfort on March 3, missed a start with the flu on March 6, threw a bullpen session on March 8 without apparent problems, but was scratched from a March 11 start and instead was flown for an examination in Los Angeles, where he received a platelet-rich plasma injection.
Prior to Wednesday, Greinke had made only two starts this Spring for a total of five innings. By comparison, Clayton Kershaw leads the Dodgers with 19 innings.
Billingsley to pitch Saturday despite finger bruise
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chad Billingsley is on track to pitch for the Dodgers on Saturday after throwing a bullpen session Wednesday despite having a bruised right index finger.
Billingsley suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch while bunting during batting practice on Friday, and he was scratched from his scheduled start on Tuesday.
The injury bothers Billingsley mostly when he is throwing his curveball, which he did not use during the bullpen session. He did flip a few curveballs off flat ground.
Billingsley said the discomfort has lessened considerably since Monday, when he was able to drain blood that pooled beneath the fingernail. He said the area is bothered when he throws a fastball, cutter or changeup.
It hasn't been determined whether Billingsley will start in a Cactus League game or a Minor League game. Also pitching Saturday for the Dodgers will be Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Withrow optioned to Minor League camp
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Withrow, who has been injured for most of Spring Training, was optioned to Minor League camp by the Dodgers on Wednesday.
Withrow, whose spring debut was delayed three weeks due to back spasms, finally got in a game on Sunday only to be injured when the second batter he faced lined a shot off of his left shin. He escaped with only a bruise.
Things were adventurous for Withrow before Spring Training started. He and his wife survived an offseason automobile accident in which their vehicle flipped over with only minor injuries.
Withrow, drafted in 2007 as a starter, is making the transition to reliever.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.