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All the news on the Boys in Blue
A.J. Ellis propels Dodgers to 1-0 win over Padres

Catcher A.J. Ellis lifted the Dodgers to a walk-off, 1-0 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night, driving in Adrian Gonzalez with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The win moved the Dodgers back into first place in the NL West, half a game ahead of the San Francisco Giants. 

Closer Kenley Jansen pitched one inning of scoreless relief and earned the victory as the Dodgers improved to 28-18 against division opponents.

Gonzalez led off the ninth with a double to center field. Right-handed reliever Kevin Quackenbush struck out Matt Kemp and intentionally walked outfielder Andre Ethier, then third basemen Juan Uribe drew a walk to load the bases for Ellis.

Dodgers left-hander Paul Maholm made his first start since May 14 and had his best outing of the season. In nine previous games (eight starts) against the Padres, Maholm had a 1-6 record and 4.56 earned-run average, but on Saturday he shut them out for six-plus innings, giving up...

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Dodgers' Don Mattingly confident in Carl Crawford's ability

The Dodgers have activated Carl Crawford from the disabled list, but it remains unclear what role he will play for a team crowded with outfielders.

Crawford injured his ankle May 27 chasing down a double off the bat of Reds outfielder Chris Heisey and returned Thursday. With Yasiel Puig entrenched as the starter in right field, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Scott Van Slyke took turns playing left and center in Crawford's absence.

Injury woes have haunted Crawford for the last few years. He underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in 2012, and questions have been tossed around since about his arm strength.

But Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly downplayed the importance of a powerful arm.

"How many guys do you see get thrown out on the bases?" Mattingly asked. "It’s really more about range and getting to balls, and Carl still runs really well. I think metrically he’s been pretty good in left field when he plays left, so he’s a guy that will run the ball down for you."

Mattingly said Crawford...

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Don Mattingly structures post-break rotation with eye on Giants

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly played coy before Saturday’s game about the way he will set up the rotation after the All-Star break.

He did reveal the rotation: Dan Haren will pitch the first game after the break, followed by Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu; a fifth starter has yet to be decided. But when asked why Haren would start the first game, Mattingly declined to go into detail.

“There’s a number of reasons,” Mattingly said. “I’m not going to get into the reasons why we’re doing everything.”

The reason, it appears, is to align the top of the rotation with the Giants series, the third series following the break. The way the rotation is now set up, Kershaw would pitch the Friday game of the series, followed by Greinke and Ryu.

The Giants lost their Saturday game against the Diamondbacks, meaning the Dodgers (52-43) own a half-game lead going into their night game against San Diego. The top of the Dodgers' rotation, and Kershaw in particular, have been excellent. The...

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Dodgers unlikely to add David Price or Cole Hamels, GM intimates

General Manager Ned Colletti intimated Saturday the Dodgers are unlikely to acquire a frontline pitcher such as David Price or Cole Hamels before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Colletti acknowledged he is looking for both starting and relief pitching.

While he didn’t specifically address his team’s interest in Price or Hamels, he spoke in general terms about the market for elite players.

Colletti said any deal for a top-tier player would require the Dodgers to trade prospects, adding, “probably more so than yours truly would like to part with at this particular time.”

“Based on what I know of who can be acquired, even those of upper-echelon ability that are going to require more than others, I don’t see us doing anything that’s going to tear apart the farm system,” Colletti said.

The Dodgers’ top prospects include 17-year-old left-hander Julio Urias and 20-year-old shortstop Corey Seager, who will represent the organization at the Futures Game.

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Dodgers' Justin Turner hopes to return against St. Louis next week

If everything goes according to plan, the Dodgers could have utility infielder Justin Turner back for the club’s first series after the All-Star break in St. Louis next week.

Turner has been on the disabled list since June 29 with a strained left hamstring but is making good progress. He will begin a rehab assignment as the designated hitter with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday.

“Everything feels good,” Turner said before Saturday’s game against the San Diego Padres. “I took a bunch of at-bats, but it’s a little different when you have a cage around you than taking actual at-bats. So we’ll see how that goes. If the timing feels good and everything, Friday looks pretty doable.”

The rehab assignment comes on the heels of a running test in Los Angeles on Saturday, the last test Turner had to pass before he could play in a game. According to Turner and Manager Don Mattingly, the test went well.

“Of course, you can’t really simulate game speed, but I felt as close to 100% as I could be,”...

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As answers elude Dan Haren, Dodgers face hole in rotation's back half

Dan Haren fiddled his thumb and cracked his knuckles restively in the Dodgers' clubhouse. Approaching the All-Star break, Haren hasn’t pitched to his expectations, and perhaps he is starting to grow restless.

The Padres, the lowest-scoring team in the league by a significant margin, tagged Haren for four runs in four innings in the Dodgers’ 6-3 loss Friday night. And with Josh Beckett out, the Dodgers' rotation is beginning to look top-heavy, like a seesaw that tilts one way.

At the top, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu are a formidable trio. After that, Beckett has been a pleasant surprise this season, but he was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a hip injury. And Haren now has a 5.73 earned-run average since the start of June.

Paul Maholm will start in Beckett’s place on Saturday.

Manager Don Mattingly said he wasn’t worried about the thin back end of the rotation. 

“We’re OK,” he said. “I have confidence in Danny, and I feel like Josh is doing well. So I’m not...

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Dodgers fall, 6-3, as Padres get to a struggling Dan Haren

It was a night of contradiction for Dan Haren. He allowed just three hits through four innings, but one of those was a home run. The Padres hit the ball hard off Haren all night, but he still managed five strikeouts.

And the inning that knocked Haren out of the game, the fifth, wasn’t all that egregious. Padres leadoff man Seth Smith reached on a single, then Chase Headley hit a ball to deep center field. Scott Van Slyke got there, but the ball bounced out of his glove as he smacked against the outfield wall. Headley strolled into second and was brought in by a Carlos Quentin double,

Just like that, Haren was out of the game, having given up four runs and failing to get out of the fifth inning.

The way the Dodgers’ offense was sputtering along in the early innings, those four runs were enough to seal a 6-3 San Diego victory.

Padres starter Jesse Hahn gave up just three hits and one run in six innings, striking out six. The Dodgers left nine men on base. Third baseman Juan Uribe went 0-...

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Hanley Ramirez out of Dodgers' lineup after cortisone shot

The Dodgers will rest Hanley Ramirez after the shortstop received a cortisone shot in his right shoulder Thursday night, Manager Don Mattingly said Friday. Ramirez is not in the starting lineup against the Padres but could be available later in the game.

Mattingly said he expects to keep Ramirez off the disabled list. He said it is likely he’ll be out of the lineup for a game or two.

“The shot seemed to kind of relieve everything,” Mattingly said. “They usually say when that shot is successful that it really gets rid of everything right away.”

Miguel Rojas will start in Ramirez’s place Friday.

Ramirez has been banged up for much of the season, with injuries to his calf, legs and shoulder. That has caused him to miss 11 games and perhaps also lose the consistency that comes with playing everyday. He is batting .275 with 11 home runs and 48 RBIs.

Ramirez received the shot, which Mattingly said was to the AC joint, immediately following Thursday’s win over the Padres. He went two for...

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Two miles, 90 minutes, one man's attempt to reach Dodger Stadium

In Yosemite, the single-lane roads usually run slow. People are more focused on the mountains around them than going the speed limit, which is fine. It’s Yosemite. Taking a few more minutes to get from "beautiful hike A" to "stunning waterfall B" isn’t all that bad.
 
A few years ago, my family and I sat on one of those roads for about an hour. Didn’t move an inch, and didn’t know why.
 
Turns out, there was a bear sitting in the middle of a road. An enormous, playful bear. Nobody wanted to try to drive around him and the park rangers were having trouble fighting around the traffic, so the big guy just sat there, enjoying his afternoon.
 
Again, this was in one of the best national parks in America, so it didn’t really matter. There’s plenty of flora and fauna at which to gaze.
 
The rangers got the bear to move, and as the cars started moving again, we saw him scamper off into the woods. It was a long time to sit and do nothing, but I thought it was worth the wait.
 
Up until that point in my...

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Clayton Kershaw's streak ends, but one-run gem still earns Dodgers win

Forty-one innings after his scoreless streak began, Clayton Kershaw circled behind the mound, rubbed a new baseball, adjusted his pants and then brushed off the rubber.

Moments earlier, he was facing San Diego's Chase Headley. There were two outs in the sixth inning, and the Dodgers led 1-0. The count was 1-2. 

For 27 days and slightly more than one hour, Kershaw hadn’t allowed a run to score. On his broadcast Thursday night, Vin Scully compared each flawless inning to a pearl in an ever-expanding necklace.

Kershaw tried an 88-mph slider, thigh-high, over the plate. The ball found Headley’s barrel. Dodgers center fielder Scott Van Slyke gave chase, but he ran out of space. The ball landed just over a Hyundai sign in left-center field.

The streak officially ends at 41 innings -- Major League Baseball does not count fractions of an inning.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, Kershaw tied Luis Tiant for the fifth-longest streak in the expansion era, behind Dodgers Orel Hershiser and Don...

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Clayton Kershaw, Mike Trout, Yasiel Puig among top jerseys sold in MLB

Is Mike Trout or Yasiel Puig the most popular ballplayer in Southern California?

Neither, at least based on jersey sales in the first half of the season. Clayton Kershaw beats them both -- and ranks third in Major League Baseball, behind Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees and Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants.

The Dodgers are the only team with three players among the top 20 -- Kershaw, the defending National League Cy Young winner, at No. 3; Puig at No. 9, and pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu at No. 18.

Trout, the Angels star widely considered the best all-around player in baseball, ranks seventh.

The top 20, as released by MLB and based on jersey sales at mlb.com:

1.    Derek Jeter , New York Yankees

2.    Buster Posey , San Francisco Giants

3.    Clayton Kershaw ,  Los Angeles Dodgers

4.    David Ortiz , Boston Red Sox

5.    Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox

6.    Yadier Molina , St. Louis Cardinals

7.    Mike Trout , Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

8.    David Wright , New York Mets

9.    Yasiel...

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How many talking heads are needed to take over for Vin Scully?

Not one, certainly. Apparently, not two either. Three seems likely, although often there are actually four.

One year, much too soon, Vin Scully will retire and the Dodgers will face the unpleasant task of replacing the most legendary announcer in Los Angeles history.

But if you want to get a glimpse of how the Dodgers are considering how to replace him, all you have to do is pay attention to this season.

The Dodgers hired five new broadcasters in the off-season -- Orel Hershiser, Nomar Garciaparra, Jerry Hairston Jr., John Hartung and Alanna Rizzo -- to help trumpet the arrival of their new super-secret TV network and to complement their radio broadcast.

So who is proving their No. 1 radio color voice when Scully is at home during road games outside of California and Arizona?

Kevin Kennedy.

Yep, Kennedy, who’s not even listed as a team broadcaster or color man. He’s the co-host of the radio postgame show. Apparently, five new faces were not enough.

For the last few weeks, Kennedy has...

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