3/13/2014 7:45 P.M. ET
Arruebarrena arrives at Dodgers camp
Club's newest Cuban addition excited to join middle-infield mix
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Erisbel Arruebarrena, the Cuban shortstop who signed with the Dodgers for $25 million last month, received his visa and arrived at Camelback Ranch on Thursday.
Wearing long-time coach Manny Mota's familiar No. 11 jersey, Arruebarrena posed for photos with Cuban teammates Yasiel Puig and Alex Guerrero.
"Wear that number with pride," Mota told him.
Arruebarrena deftly handled media questions, with answers focused on how happy he was to be with the Dodgers. He came to Arizona from Haiti via Miami, but would not discuss details of his departure from Cuba.
"I'm only worried about playing baseball," he said. "I'm really excited, not nervous. I'm going to get ready to play baseball. I'm happy to sign with the Dodgers."
Arruebarrena said he plays with a flair more like that of the theatrical Puig than the subdued Guerrero.
"It's typical of Latins," he said.
At the time of Arruebarrena's signing to a five-year contract, general manager Ned Colletti said he wouldn't be surprised if Arruebarrena arrived in the Major Leagues this year. But he also called Arruebarrena's offense "a work in progress."
He said he felt he was in shape to play now, but hasn't played regularly since the winter.
Arruebarrena, 23, posted a .276 batting average with 67 doubles, 25 triples, 27 homers and 171 RBI in 437 career games in six seasons for Cienfuegos in the Cuban Serie Nacional from 2007-13. He was a teammate of Puig's in 2010-11.
Dodgers vice president of international scouting Bob Engel compared Arruebarrena's defense to the late Mark Belanger, an eight-time Gold Glove winner with Baltimore.
Arruebarrena joins prospect Corey Seager and possibly Guerrero as another option for the Dodgers at shortstop if and when Hanley Ramirez gets a contract extension and moves to third base.
Arruebarrena is the latest of an ever-increasing emphasis by the Dodgers of signing international players, in general, and Cubans, in particular, especially after the stunning success of Puig. Because Arruebarrena has six seasons of professional experience in Cuba, he was not bound by international salary restrictions. The Dodgers now have one scout based in Florida, Mike Tosar, whose special assignment is Cuba alone.
The Dodgers last year signed Guerrero, who was penciled in to start at second base this year, although the natural shortstop has struggled in his transition to the other side of the bag.
Dodgers look to shore up defensive lapse
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers were stung by delayed opponents pulling off stolen bases in back-to-back games, and acting manager Tim Wallach was glad to see it.
"That's two days in a row and I'm glad they showed us," said Wallach, who on Friday will hand the reins back to Don Mattingly, out for two days after a death in the family.
"Hanley [Ramirez, shortstop] knows. He said, 'That's me.' But it's not just Hanley, we all can look bad," Wallach said. "Obviously there's something out there, and they showed us that."
The stolen base on Thursday was by Reds catcher Brayan Pena, with Ramirez late to cover second base. On Wednesday, it was Arizona speedster Tony Campana.
Wilson bounces back after ailment changes routine
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Whatever undisclosed ailment kept Brian Wilson from pitching in Wednesday's exhibition game didn't keep him from appearing healthy while throwing in the bullpen on Thursday morning.
Wilson first played catch on flat ground with trainer Stan Conte before taking the bullpen mound for his session, with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt watching.
Earlier in the morning, bench coach Tim Wallach, acting as manager while Don Mattingly is absent due to a death in the family, was asked about Wilson and said, "As far as I know, he's fine."
On Wednesday, for the first time this spring, Wilson did not appear in the same game with Kenley Jansen, J.P. Howell and Chris Perez. Previously, all four appeared in the same game each of their five appearances.
Two days earlier, Wilson threw a pitch that alarmed Honeycutt, resulting in a mound visit by Mattingly and assistant trainer Greg Harrell.
Wilson remained in that game without taking a warmup pitch. He allowed two runs on two hits and was removed after two-thirds of an inning when he reached a 15-pitch limit. After the game, Mattingly said Wilson was fine.
Wednesday would have been the first time Wilson would have pitched on only one day of rest, as it was for Jansen, Howell and Perez.
Meanwhile, reliever Brandon League has gone three days without pitching in a game and is not listed to travel on Friday. The last time League pitched was with two days' rest. He was slowed early in camp with a strained lat muscle and has allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings with four walks and one strikeout.
Beckett plans to pitch through sprained thumb
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett said he plans to make his Friday start against the Cubs despite a sprained right thumb.
"I don't want to fall behind," said Beckett. "I think I can get through it."
Beckett hurt the outside of his thumb when it was hit by an opening clubhouse door about 10 days ago. To that point, Beckett was having a healthy recovery from last year's thoracic outlet syndrome surgery.
In his last start Saturday night, Beckett was charged with five runs in three innings, allowing three home runs.
Beckett struggled through a bullpen session on Wednesday, restricted to throwing fastballs. As the fifth starter, Beckett is not expected to make the trip to Australia or a regular-season start for the Dodgers until the middle of April because of numerous days off in the schedule.
Kemp, Puig take hacks in intrasquad game
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers outfielders Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, one rehabbing his ankle and the other working on his bat, played in a Minor League intrasquad game on Thursday at Camelback Ranch.
Kemp, continuing his comeback from ankle surgery, went 0-for-6 and played two half-innings in the outfield.
Puig went 4-for-10 with a home run and triple. Puig, who hit .517 last Spring Training, is hitting .176 without a home run in the Cactus League.
The pitchers they faced were Stephen Fife, Matt Magill, Chris Reed and Henry Sosa.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.