There were lots of tidbits from today's Spring Training game, even though the Dodgers lost. But the one that might stick with people the most is Eric Gagne's return in a Dodger uniform.
After all the reports I heard that Gagne looked starkly thinner – I was half-expecting Sally Struthers to make an appeal on his behalf – my view of him on TV was that the difference wasn't so noticeable. Of course, when you're dealing with baggy uniforms, who knows?
But although Gagne didn't get hit hard, he did get hit. He didn't have any strikeouts, and he allowed himself to get dinked and donked for two runs on three hits. None of this matters as far as what he'll have in 2010 to offer the team or not. My only interest really was in recollecting the Gagne experience, and this certainly wasn't it (not that I was expecting much).
And still, I was happy to see him, and happy for the reminders that floated through my head of his previous Dodger career.
Gagne told Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com that he was a "little off mechanically" but "felt really good physically."
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James McDonald and Jeff Weaver had frustrating spring debuts for the Dodgers, but Eric Stults and Russ Ortiz cruised in their two innings. Manny Ramirez had a single, double and walk to give him an .833 on-base percentage after two days. Blake DeWitt is 2 for 3 with two walks after a perfect two plate appearances today.
"Stults was good," Dodger manager Joe Torre said. "I thought he mixed his pitches well. I thought he did a nice job, as did Russ Ortiz.
"(James McDonald) just wasn't throwing strikes. Wasn't throwing strikes with his offspeed pitch, and just didn't look like he was locating. Even when he was throwing strikes, it didn't look like he was throwing them in the place he wanted to throw them. He's been fine. He's been throwing the ball good; he's been working on some stuff. As they say, we'll see."
The Dodgers are still looking for their first Spring Training triple or home run. And with rain in the forecast for Sunday's game against the Cubs in Mesa, they might still be looking.
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Who would have a copy handy of the 1966 Kansas City A's media guide? Baseball Nerd Keith Olbermann would, and he uses it to render tall Rick Monday's tale that he was given uniform No. 104 at Spring Training that year.
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