The Dodgers have long since said their goodbyes, packed their belongings and mementos and put Dodgertown, their Vero Beach training facility, in their rearview mirror.
But still, they retained an option to return to their home of 61 springs should their new $100-million facility in Glendale, Ariz., one they will share with the Chicago White Sox, not be ready next year.
Friday, however, the Dodgers made it official. There will be no going back.
The team informed Indian River County officials that they are terminating their facility-use agreement for the Dodgertown complex. Having signed an exit agreement in February, the Dodgers had until Tuesday to follow through on it without penalty.
Evidence that an unexpected return will not be necessary can be found in the team’s Dodger Stadium clubhouse, where an aerial photo of the new facility is on display, the new clubhouses erected, the form of new diamonds marking the landscape.
“It was time,” said Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who spent 59 of those 61 springs in Vero Beach. “For me, there’s no deep sentiment. That was hallowed ground for the Brooklyn Dodgers. And now that they are the Los Angeles Dodgers, they should be closer.”
The streets in Dodgertown are named for Dodgers greats. The longtime announcer says he hopes to get the sign designating Vin Scully Way.
“Maybe I’ll hang it on my front door,” he said. “That will confuse the heck out of the mailman.”
Indian River officials have a draft agreement with a replacement team, believed to be the Baltimore Orioles.
The starting five
After next week’s All-Star break, the Dodgers’ five-man rotation will be, in order, Hiroki Kuroda, Chad Billingsley, Derek Lowe, Chan Ho Park and Eric Stults.
Manager Joe Torre said he was comfortable with Park as either a starter, the role he had in spring training, or out of the bullpen, the role he has had for much of the season. Park has been the starter in only five of 25 appearances this season.
“He gives me a nice luxury down there,” Torre said. “He seems to be physically fine going back and forth, though he’d much rather start.”
Right-hander Brad Penny, the Dodgers’ opening-day starter but on the disabled list since June 15 because of tendinitis in his throwing shoulder, says he will be cautious about returning to the mound.
Penny, who has struggled, going 5-9 with a 5.88 earned-run average, feels he should have backed off sooner when the irritation in his shoulder persisted.
After receiving a cortisone injection last Monday, Penny says he plans to start throwing next week.
“Since we are right in contention for first place,” Penny said, “I’d rather take a little more time and come back fresh.”