The Spring Training facilities in Arizona may have been a wet mess on Friday which ultimately rained out both split squad Dodger games, but the hot ticket was actually happening at Chase Field as Team USA and Team Mexico battled it out. Actually it wasn’t much of a battle. R.A. Dickey was roughed up by Team Mexico which includes a couple of Dodgers. Adrian Gonzalez, who ironically wasn’t even born in Mexico but rather San Diego, took Dickey deep in the third inning. Gonzo batted in three runs, while Luis Cruz also had two RBI. Team Mexico will play Team Canada in Phoenix on Saturday.
Mar. 7, 2013; Scottsdale, AZ, USA: Mexico first baseman Adrian Gonzalez gets a hit in the first inning against Italy during the World Baseball Classic at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Participating Dodgers have certainly been representing their home country well so far in the Classic. Although they haven’t been helping the Dodgers in camp due to their absence, you can’t be too upset with their successful play. Hanley Ramirez has also uplifted Team Dominican Republic. In Thursday’s game versus Team Venezuela, his huge no-doubt about it homerun in the fifth inning off Joulys Chacin helped the D.R. take a 6-3 lead and eventual win. The Dominican Republic will play Team Spain in Puerto Rico on Saturday.
Nick Punto was a part of Team Italy’s upset 6-5 victory over Mexico on Thursday. Punto’s double in the ninth inning helped to propel Team Italy’s come-from-behind victory. Italy’s comeback was thanks to a Sergio Romo blown save which made for some entertaining baseball I must add. Luis Cruz had a hit, and Adrian Gonzalez had two hits and two walks for Mexico. Italy went on to defeat Team Canada 14-4 on Friday. Nick Punto collected another two hits in the game, and he’s now hitting .333 in WBC play. Team Italy and Team USA will meet on Saturday in Phoenix.
The Dodgers are certainly missing their first baseman as he captains Team Mexico, and I suppose this allows Don Mattingly to play some possible first base back-ups in camp during his absence. Yet the likes of Scott Van Slyke or Juan Uribe at first base is really quite disconcerting.
Dee Gordon has been relishing the extra playing time at shortstop while Hanley Ramirez has been gone. In fact the speedster is hitting .286 with 5 stolen bases in his 9 games played thus far. It really makes you wonder what the Dodgers plan to do once Dee is ready to be their everyday shortstop. Hanley will have to be moved to third base, and Luis Cruz will have to be moved to a utility role.
While many feel the World Baseball Classic is pointless, it has been quite drama filled this year. All of the Dodgers participating have been hitting well. Whether they play in Blue or for their native countries, I will continue to root for them.
But seeing Joe Torre in the dugout makes me cringe.