03/29/2013 10:48 PM ET
Dodger Stadium upgrades benefit fans, players
By Austin Laymance / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Dodger Stadium underwent a facelift during the offseason, one that team president and CEO Stan Kasten believes will benefit all fans in the future. It could also help the product on the field, too.
The $100 million project includes new high definition video boards in left field and right field, a new sound system, a Wi-Fi network, new concession stands, renovated bathrooms and designated areas for kids to play.
"It was no small feat," Kasten said Friday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. "We have, I think, enhanced the experience for fans on every level of this park. We have made it more fun for kids. We have brought some history into the ballpark."
The Dodgers have a plush new clubhouse that is much larger than its predecessor. The visiting team now has its own batting cages and weight room. In years past, visitors shared those areas with the Dodgers.
"I think the best thing is the other team isn't in our locker room," manager Don Mattingly said. "As nice as everything is, the best part of it is that the other team is separate from you. It's just a better environment for the organization."
While the Dodgers were still getting adjusted to their new surroundings on Friday, Mattingly believes the upgrades will benefit the club moving forward.
"I think it makes another commitment to the players that are here and the guys that we bring in, that we're giving them every opportunity to be the best team they can possible be," the manager said. "It's a great selling point also for guys who want to play here."
Billingsley hurls six-plus innings in Minors game
LOS ANGELES -- Chad Billingsley did not appear limited by his bruised right index finger in a strong outing Friday against Milwaukee's Triple-A affiliate.
In six-plus innings against the Nashville Sounds, Billingsley allowed one run on four hits. He struck out six against one walk on 96 pitches.
Billingsley held the Sounds scoreless for six innings until he hit the only batter he faced in the seventh, who came around to score, before being removed from the game.
"He threw pretty good, it sounded like," manager Don Mattingly said before Friday's exhibition against the Angels. "It sounds like that went pretty well."
Billinglsey was able to throw his curveball and breaking ball without further damage to his right index fingernail.
Mattingly said the fingernail is still a concern, but the manager worries more about the right-hander's throwing elbow.
"The biggest issue is just any small changes that would get too aggressive with that elbow," Mattingly said. "Making sure we're not putting him in a bad spot."
The Dodgers are still determining where to slot the right-hander in the starting rotation. Los Angeles hosts San Francisco on Opening Day on Monday at 1:10 p.m. PT.
"It depends where we put him," Mattingly said. "We're trying to make sure his health is where it needs to be as far as being 100 percent ready to pitch."
Billingsley drove back to Los Angeles after his outing and will meet with the team Saturday in Anaheim before the final contest of the three-game Freeway Series against the Angels.
Dodgers haven't decided on shortstop yet
LOS ANGELES -- Justin Sellers is getting every opportunity possible to prove that he can help the Dodgers' shortstop situation.
The Dodgers have yet to determine how best to replace injured shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who is sidelined with a torn ligament in his right thumb.
Sellers started Friday at shortstop for the second straight game of a three-game exhibition series against the Angels.
While Luis Cruz figured to replace Ramirez at short when the three-time All-Star was injured during the World Baseball Classic, manager Don Mattingly has not committed to that decision. He likes what Sellers provides defensively.
"I don't know. I want to keep seeing Justin at shortstop, though," Mattingly said before Friday's game.
Why have the Dodgers given Sellers more time at the position of late rather than Cruz?
"We had some good meetings and talks," Mattingly said. "Hanley goes down, you throw Cruz over as the first thing you do. Everybody gets together and we get a chance to think about it a little bit more, put some time on it, talk about it and we still haven't settled anything. It's just another line of thinking."
Cruz has 66 appearances at shortstop in his four-year career, including 24 with the Dodgers in 2012.
The Dodgers assigned Sellers to Minor League camp before Ramirez's injury. But he's getting a second chance in the final days leading up to Opening Day.
Sellers hit .204 in 55 games with Los Angeles over the past two seasons. But he is valued for his defense.
Ryu has sights set on Rookie of the Year Award
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu has high aspirations for his first season in the Major Leagues. The Korean hurler wants to be the National League Rookie of the Year.
Ryu said Friday he believes he can earn the award with 12 or 13 wins. His first start is scheduled for Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. PT against the Giants, the second game of the regular season.
Does Ryu feel he has an advantage because most batters haven't faced him?
"As much as they don't know me, I don't know them," Ryu said through a translator. "So it's going to be a two-way street for me to figure them out at the same time they are figuring me out."
Ryu finished Spring Training with a 3.29 ERA in seven appearances, including six starts. He struck out 27 in 27 1/3 innings, with eight walks. Thursday against the Angels, Ryu retired all 12 batters he faced.
What's been the biggest difference for Ryu in his transition from Korea? "In Korea I could get away with a mistake or two, but here I've noticed that when I make a mistake it's a home run," he said.
But whether he wins the NL Rookie of the Year Award or not, Ryu added he simply wants to remain healthy in his first season in the big leagues.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.