Last weekend pitchers and catchers officially reported to Dodgers Spring Training camp at Camelback Ranch in Arizona with the rest of the team trickling in shortly thereafter. Lost in the hulla-ballo surrounding Manny Ramirez’s announcement that this was his last season in L.A. was the news that pitcher Scott Elbert has been dealing with left shoulder tendinitis, which might have more severe ramifications for both the Dodgers and particularly, the Isotopes. Elbert enters Spring Training as a viable candidate to fill L.A.’s fifth rotation slot, and any prolonged injury set-back in Arizona would jeopardize that. The good news is that according to Dodgers.com, Elbert threw a pain-free bullpen session last Thusday and again yesterday, which should bode well for his being able to compete for a starter’s position this spring.
Ken Gurnick, the Dodgers’ writer for MLB.com also has a scary story about relief pitcher Travis Schlichting, who was superb in 13 appearances for the ‘Topes last year, going 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA (2 ER / 48.1 IP) before he was shut down on July 31 with back spasms. It turns out Schlichting has been suffering from a rare genetic condition called Gilbert’s Syndrome, which affects the production of an enzyme that detoxifies bilirubin, a toxic product of the natural breakdown of red blood cells. This enzymatic shortage leads to an excess of bilirubin (and other toxins) in the blood serum and can lead to fatigue, nausea, and extreme weight loss (Schlichting at one point dropped 30 pounds– he’s since put 10 pounds back on since switching diets). The good news is Schlichting is now feeling better and the weight loss has actually helped take some strain off the bulging disk in his back that sidelined him off and on last season.
Now that Spring Training is underway, here are a couple of dates to remember:
Thursday, March 4: Minor League Pitchers / Catchers Report*
Friday, March 5: Dodgers first Spring Training Game (vs. Chicago White Sox) @ Camelback Ranch
Wednesday, March 10: Minor League Position Players Report*
(Minor League report dates are for all of those players not on the Dodgers 40-man roster and not invited to Major League camp)