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Dodgers Dugout: Leave David Price alone

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher David Price throws a pitch against the Cincinnati Reds.
David Price
(Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and if a game happens at Dodger Stadium, and there are no fans there to hear it, does it make a noise?

There is a lot to go over since we spoke last, so let’s get right to it.

David Price, acquired in the offseason as part of the Mookie Betts trade, decided that he will opt out of the upcoming 60-game season because of coronavirus concerns.

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“After considerable thought and discussion with my family and the Dodgers, I have decided it is in the best interest of my health and my family’s health for me to not play this season,” wrote Price, whose two children are under age 4. “I will miss my teammates and will be cheering for them throughout the season and on to a World Series victory. I’m sorry I won’t be playing for you this year, but look forward to representing you next year.”

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There was a lot of anger among some Dodgers fans on social media over this news. Many, not understanding the situation fully, were unhappy that Price would get paid while they don’t have the option to work or not to work and still get paid.

Here’s the thing though: Price isn’t going to get paid. He was scheduled to be paid around $11.9 million this upcoming season, and he will instead get $0.0 million.

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This is the same David Price who gave $1,000 to every Dodgers minor leaguer last month.

It seems to me that if a player wants to opt out, more power to them. Especially if they have small kids. As we are seeing with the MLS Is Back tournament, being in a protective bubble is no guarantee that you will be safe. Every player has to make whatever choice they feel is best for their health and the health of their family, and we should respect that decision.

With Price out, the three leading candidates to replace him in the rotation are Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and Ross Stripling.

Besides, I’m still not convinced there will be a season this year. But speaking of the season....

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Here’s the 2020 Dodger schedule

July 23-26: Giants at Dodgers

July 28-29: Dodgers at Astros

July 30-Aug. 2: Dodgers at Diamondbacks

Aug. 3-5: Dodgers at Padres

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Aug. 7-9: Giants at Dodgers

Aug. 10-13: Padres at Dodgers

Aug. 14-16: Dodgers at Angels

Aug. 17-18: Mariners at Dodgers

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Aug. 19-20: Dodgers at Mariners

Aug. 21-23: Rockies at Dodgers

Aug. 25-27: Dodgers at Giants

Aug. 28-30: Dodgers at Rangers

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Sept. 1-3: Diamondbacks at Dodgers

Sept. 4-6: Rockies at Dodgers

Sept. 8-10: Dodgers at Diamondbacks

Sept. 12-13: Astros at Dodgers

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Sept. 14-16: Dodgers at Padres

Sept. 17-20: Dodgers at Rockies

Sept. 22-24: Athletics at Dodgers

Sept. 25-27: Angels at Dodgers

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Most home games will be at 6:40 p.m. PT this season. Games will be on Spectrum SportsNet, finally available in every greater Los Angeles area city this season.

The usual announcing crew (Joe Davis, Orel Hershiser, Charley Steiner, Rick Monday, Tim Neverett, Jaime Jarrin, Jorge Jarrin, Fernando Valenzuela, Nomar Garciaparra, Alanna Rizzo, Pepe Yniguez) will call the games.

The opener, July 23 against San Francisco, will start at 7 p.m. and be televised on ESPN.

For more info in the schedule, click here.

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Where are all the Dodgers?

Seven players have not been in training camp, all for undisclosed reasons: Scott Alexander, Pedro Báez, Tony Gonsolin, Kenley Jansen, Gavin Lux, A.J. Pollock and Keibert Ruiz. Manager Dave Roberts said in a conference call this week that he couldn’t disclose the reason for the players’ absences.

This, of course, leaves us to our own suspicious minds to come up with a reason. Have they tested positive for the coronavirus? Are they deciding whether to play this season? Have they been abducted by aliens? No idea. But those are some pretty important names. Hopefully they are all healthy.

Jimmy Nelson is out

Remember when the Dodgers signed pitcher Jimmy Nelson to a one-year, $1.25-million deal? It was a risk, because, even though he finished ninth in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2017, he partially tore the labrum and strained the rotator cuff in his right shoulder sliding headfirst into a base at the end of that season. He didn’t return until June of 2019.

Turns out he now needs back surgery and will miss the 2020 season. We can put this in the bad signing pile. Good luck to Nelson in his recovery.

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Ask Ross Porter

Former Dodgers broadcaster Ross Porter is back for another season of “Ask Ross Porter.” We have a new email address this season for it. Ross will have access to this email address and will get your questions without me having to forward them. So, if you have a message (like thanking him for his years as a broadcaster) and not a question, feel free to let him know. Send your question or comment to rossporterdodgers@gmail.com.

Dan Hudson of Topeka, Kansas asks: When growing up in Sherman Oaks, I spent many nights listening to Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett on the Dodger games. Can you tell me more about Jerry?

Ross: Born in Missouri, Jerry Doggett attended Northwestern University, and began his baseball announcing career in Longview, Texas. He was in his early 20s and the team was in the East Texas League and a White Sox farm club. Jerry had to personally set up the broadcast line from the radio station to the ballpark. In 1941, he began a 15-year stint airing games of the Dallas Rebels in the Texas League. Doggett also re-created major league games for the Liberty Broadcasting System, not at the stadium, but sitting in front of a teletype at the radio station, with an engineer playing sound effects. Before Brooklyn Dodgers announcer Connie Desmond was fired late in the 1956 season, Walter O’Malley had asked about Jerry’s qualifications, and hired him to join Vin around Labor Day. When the 1957 season was over and the Dodgers prepared to move to Los Angeles, Doggett was not sure he would keep his job until Walter called him and renewed his contract.

Jerry and Vin were broadcast partners for 32 years and as close as brothers. The Doggetts always lived in Fullerton and the Scullys in Pacific Palisades. Jerry told me he was never in Vin’s home, and Scully was never in his. But, during the season they were frequently together. Both loved golf and often took their clubs on road trips and played on courses in National League cities. One morning in San Diego, the two of them were on the way to play golf. Jerry was driving and they collided with another car.

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Neither was seriously injured and both worked the game that night. Jerry confided in me, “I thought I had killed Vinnie.”

When I came to the Dodgers in December of 1976 (Vin recommended me), I became the No. 2 announcer and Jerry No. 3. To show you what kind of a person Jerry Doggett was, he immediately began helping me adjust to my new position.

There was never a second of resentment by him to me even though it meant I replaced him on the Dodger telecasts and became the No. 1 announcer on radio and TV when Vin was not present. Jerry advised me on a number of subjects like the best restaurants in a new city.

There was an oddity involving the three of us. Jerry was 11 years older than Vin, who was 11 years older than me, and I was privileged to work with Jerry for 11 seasons. After he retired in 1987, the Doggetts soon moved to Morgan Hill in northern California to be near their daughter and granddaughter. We would see Jerry when he drove to San Francisco to watch a Dodger game. On July 7, 1997, after eating lunch at home, Jerry decided to take a nap before going to a dental appointment and passed away of natural causes. He was 80. Vin and I flew to his funeral and delivered eulogies.

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And finally

Every Dodgers walkoff win in 2019. Watch them here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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