Dodgers President Stan Kasten was full of good news. The Dodgers have sold a record 35,000 season tickets. For the first time they will have sold 3 million tickets by their home opener. TV ratings were up 40% last year and are expected to rise again this season.
Only, about that. Those rising TV ratings just might require that most of Los Angeles is actually able to view the games. The Dodgers' mainland opener in San Diego is Sunday and Time Warner Cable has yet to sign an other major provider up with the team's new regional sports network.
And for the first time Thursday, Kasten expressed frustration at the lack of progress in negotiations.
"I am disappointed that deals haven't been closed yet," Kasten said. "And I have to tell you with the first regular-season game coming on Tuesday, I am now concerned that some fans at the start will not be able to see games. And that's disappointing and it shouldn't be happening."
Sunday's game will be nationally broadcast by ESPN. Following Monday's off day, the Tuesday game in San Diego could be the first Dodgers game unavailable for viewing to the vast majority of Los Angeles residents.
Time Warner Cable is currently the only major provider broadcasting SportsNet LA, the Dodgers' new channel. That means approximately 70% of the Los Angeles market will be unable to watch the Dodgers on television Tuesday.
The Dodgers own Sports-Net LA but Time Warner Cable operates it. Kasten said the Dodgers are not directly involved in the negotiations with other cable distributors.
"I wouldn't say hands off, we're in communication all the time," he said. "But I do think the thing the Dodgers can do the most is make the product the best it can."
Kasten would not say if the team had plans to make any special accommodations (tickets, coupons) for fans unable to watch games on TV.
"I don't know, we haven't talked about that yet," he said.
The team's record of season ticket sales more than doubles the approximate 17,000 sold under Frank McCourt in 2011.
The Dodgers used to cap season tickets sales under owner Peter O'Malley at 27,000 per year.
Right-hander Zack Greinke went six innings Thursday in the Angels' 7-5 win at Dodger Stadium, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits. He struck out two, did not walk a batter and said the strained calf that bothered him early this spring was again no issue. He threw 78 pitches, 53 for strikes.
"It felt good," Greinke said. "I felt like I could have gone another inning, but the plan was 85 pitches top. I guess it's a positive to feel strong still."
Greinke is scheduled to make his regular-season debut Tuesday in San Diego.
"I guess you're always nervous you're not 100% ready, but everything felt pretty good," he said.
Rotation on hold
With Clayton Kershaw scratched from Sunday's opener with a sore back, the Dodgers are hoping Hyun-Jin Ryu's sore toe enables him to take the start.
Ryu is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday and if he comes out of it well, he will start Sunday. If the toe presents a problem, Dan Haren will start.
Ryu went through pitching motions Wednesday without actually throwing the ball.
"Hyun-Jin came out of that pretty good yesterday," Manager Don Mattingly said. "He looks positive."
If Ryu starts Sunday, Haren will go Wednesday against the Padres. Kershaw did not throw Thursday, but is scheduled to do some light throwing Friday to test his back.
Adrian Gonzalez was hit on the left elbow by a Hector Santiago fastball in the third and left the game the next inning for precautionary reasons. Gonzalez said he would likely play Friday. … Infielder Alex Guerrero, already optioned to triple-A Albuquerque, strained a side muscle Wednesday swinging a bat and is expected to be out several days. … Matt Kemp completed his final camp game Thursday (one for five, double, two stolen bases) against the Royals' triple-A team and was scheduled to fly back to Los Angeles afterward.