03/02/2013 8:15 PM ET
Jansen works on pitching subtleties in Minors camp
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Instead of pitching in Saturday's Dodgers-Mariners game as scheduled, Kenley Jansen pitched a hitless inning for a Minor League squad against Team Italy, which is training for the World Baseball Classic at Camelback Ranch.
After the inning against Italy, whose hitting coach is former Dodger Mike Piazza, Jansen worked with coaches Ken Howell and Chuck Crim on controlling the running game.
Jansen, 25, has ridden a nasty cutter to strikeout dominance and the occasional closer role. But as a former catcher who was rushed to the big leagues, he lacks many of the game's subtleties that are refined through Minor League seasoning.
In three seasons, baserunners are a perfect 17-0 in attempted steals.
Jansen's session Saturday involved recognizing threatening leads by runners at first base, and utilizing tools (pickoff moves, stepping off the rubber and changing the pace of delivery) to disrupt opposing runners.
"This is what I need to improve on, and I'll be a complete pitcher when I get it right," said Jansen.
Mattingly hints at roles for Ryu, Puig
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Dodgers still have 32 exhibition games to sort out their roster, but manager Don Mattingly dropped some interesting tidbits Saturday.
For example, when he said that Korean import Hyun-Jin Ryu was "just OK" in Friday's start, he added that Ryu "is a competitor for one of the five (starting) spots. Nobody's guaranteed anything in those spots. He controls his own destiny and we'll see where it goes."
Of course, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke are guaranteed two of those spots if they remain healthy. Josh Beckett will probably get a third. If Chad Billingsley is healthy, it's hard to imagine him not being in the rotation.
So, maybe the Dodgers are considering opening the season with Ryu in the bullpen, leaving Chris Capuano (who allowed two earned runs, three total, in the third inning Saturday), Ted Lilly and Aaron Harang to compete for the fifth spot.
Mattingly also said that outfielder Yasiel Puig, the $42 million Cuban signing who was supposed to just get his feet wet this spring, "is fun to watch." Managers tend to feel that way when a player is hitting .389, as Puig is in his first professional Spring Training.
With Carl Crawford and his injured elbow on the shelf for a week, and Matt Kemp also being eased back into action after shoulder surgery, the 22-year-old Puig will continue to get playing time while management looks for more signs of last year's immaturity, or signs that Puig is suddenly growing up fast as a ballplayer.
"The guy looks good right now," said Mattingly. "He comes with high expectations. He made a good decision today stopping at second base [instead of trying for a triple], compared to the other day when he got thrown out tagging to second. We'll continue doing what we've been doing, getting a look at things like that."
But Mattingly countered the suggestion that Puig might stick with the big league club if Crawford isn't active on Opening Day.
"Then you have the best chance of somebody going in the wrong direction,"Mattingly said. "You can get yourself in trouble. He's still raw. You don't want to get a guy beat up. Maybe he doesn't struggle, but that's not usually the case. We don't have to make a decision right now."
Speaking of Crawford, Mattingly said the outfielder's elbow felt better, but he still is expected to be out a week. Crawford apparently responded quickly to anti-inflammatory medication.
Baez looks sharp in first live action on mound
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The general manager, two of his special assistants, three club vice presidents and other assorted club officials turned out to watch a seven-year Dodgers Minor Leaguer pitch his first career inning of a game against another team.
That's the kind of commotion that transformed third baseman Pedro Baez has created this spring.
Baez retired Team Italy in order in his one inning of work, his first since wowing Sandy Koufax in a bullpen session earlier in the week. Team Italy's hitting coach is former Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza.
Baez, who turns 25 next month, signed for $200,000 out of the Dominican Republic and was considered the organization's best third-base prospect. But with a .247 average in six Minor League seasons, Baez was given the Kenley Jansen treatment and sent to the mound, as Jansen was after failing to hit as a catcher.
Baez showed Koufax a natural delivery, a fastball in the mid-90s and a curveball more advanced than many of his fellow Minor Leaguers who have been at this pitching thing for years. Koufax told other staff members he'd like to see Baez in a Major League exhibition game this spring.
Spring Training webcasts to begin Sunday
PEORIA, Az. -- The Dodgers will webcast eight Spring Training home games, beginning with Sunday's game against Cleveland at 12:05 p.m. PT. Games will be provided by ProAngle Media and Camelback Vision on www.Dodgers.com. The seven additional telecasts are:
• Wednesday, March 6 vs. Mexico National team, 12:05 p.m.
• Friday, March 8 vs. Cincinnati Reds (split-squad), 6:05 p.m.
• Saturday, March 9 vs. Seattle Mariners, 12:05 p.m.
• Thursday, March 14 vs. Chicago Cubs, 1:05 p.m.
• Friday, March 15 vs. Kansas City Royals (ss), 7:05 p.m.
• Tuesday, March 19 vs. Oakland Athletics, 1:05 p.m.
• Friday, March 22 vs. Cincinnati Reds, 1:05 p.m.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.