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Solid Dodgers seek opportunity at Meetings

With much of team returning, GM says LA doesn't 'have any glaring needs'
MLB.com @kengurnick

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After taking a swing and miss on two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani and passing on MVP Giancarlo Stanton, the Dodgers could be busy at the Winter Meetings beginning Monday. Or not. Either way, Dodgers.com will be there to cover it.

MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2017 Winter Meetings, with Twitter updates @kengurnick. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, including the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 6 a.m. PT.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After taking a swing and miss on two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani and passing on MVP Giancarlo Stanton, the Dodgers could be busy at the Winter Meetings beginning Monday. Or not. Either way, Dodgers.com will be there to cover it.

MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2017 Winter Meetings, with Twitter updates @kengurnick. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, including the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 6 a.m. PT.

Video: Darvish tops free-agent pitching market

After falling one win short of their first World Series title in 29 years, the Dodgers come to the annual convention not needing anything desperately. They tried for Ohtani, who chose the Angels, and were apparently willing to pick up far less of Stanton's $295 million contract than the Yankees did ($265 million).

"We're fortunate that a lot of the team is going to be coming back," general manager Farhan Zaidi said last month. "We don't feel we have any glaring needs. We'll continue to be opportunistic to improve the roster."

Hot Stove Tracker

To that end during the Winter Meetings, the Dodgers could pursue a trade for a right-handed-hitting outfielder consolation prize, such as Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen or Stanton's former Miami teammate, Marcell Ozuna, at a fraction of Stanton's financial cost.

Video: Must C Combo: Cutch belts two homers, plates eight

Meanwhile, the Dodgers will be looking to re-sign or replace free agents Yu Darvish in the starting rotation, Brandon Morrow and Tony Watson in the bullpen and Chase Utley as a platoon second baseman.

In three years of the Andrew Friedman regime, the Dodgers have passed on nine-figure marquee free agents while clinging tightly to their most coveted prospects, specifically Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Julio Urias. The untouchable prospect everyone will want this winter is right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler.

Video: Buehler named Dodgers Pipeline pitcher of the year

The Dodgers have filled holes in recent offseasons with affordable free agents and trades -- often complicated ones -- for controllable young players like catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitcher Alex Wood, or veterans with short-term commitments like Utley and Howie Kendrick.

The Dodgers would like to trade Adrian Gonzalez or Scott Kazmir, but other clubs find outfielders Alex Verdugo, Andrew Toles or Joc Pederson more intriguing and less expensive.

Manager Dave Roberts will hold his Winter Meetings media session on Tuesday at 12 p.m. PT. The Rule 5 Draft will take place Thursday morning. The Dodgers' roster is full at 40.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Garvey's latest Hall of Fame bid falls short

Dodgers, Padres great will likely get another shot in 2019
MLB.com @AJCassavell

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Steve Garvey's Hall of Fame bid has fallen short once again, this time at the hands of the 16-member Modern Era Committee.

Garvey, being judged for a third time by the Veterans Committee process, needed 12 votes to be elected, but of the 10 candidates, only Jack Morris and Alan Trammell reached the threshold and will be enshrined in Cooperstown next summer.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Steve Garvey's Hall of Fame bid has fallen short once again, this time at the hands of the 16-member Modern Era Committee.

Garvey, being judged for a third time by the Veterans Committee process, needed 12 votes to be elected, but of the 10 candidates, only Jack Morris and Alan Trammell reached the threshold and will be enshrined in Cooperstown next summer.

The Modern Era ballot features players whose contributions came primarily from 1970-87. The committee -- one of four tasked with choosing Hall of Famers from bygone eras -- will meet again at the 2019 Winter Meetings.

Complete Hall of Fame coverage

Garvey spent 19 seasons in the big leagues -- the first 14 of which came with the Dodgers, before he signed with the Padres ahead of the 1983 season.

Garvey posted a career slash line of .294/.329/.446 with 221 homers, four Gold Glove Awards and 10 All-Star berths. He took home the National League MVP Award in 1974 and won World Series with the Dodgers in '78 and '81.

In 1984, Garvey helped lead the Padres to their first NL pennant, authoring the most famous home run in franchise history -- a walk-off shot to force a decisive Game 5 against the Cubs in the NL Championship Series.

Video: 1984 NLCS Gm4: Garvey hits a walk-off homer

Garvey retired in 1987, and his name first appeared on the Hall ballot from the Baseball Writers' Association of America for the '93 class. He garnered 42.6 percent of the vote in 1995, his highest total during the process but well short of the 75 percent required for enshrinement. After 15 seasons on the BBWAA ballot, Garvey's final chance came in 2007, when he finished with 21.1 percent.

Since his name first appeared on the ballot, it's been an uphill climb for Garvey. He'll likely get another shot in 2019.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers

Friedman made mark at Winter Meetings in '14

Executive hit the ground running to change team culture
MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- Two months after Andrew Friedman took over the Dodgers as their president of baseball operations, he took over the Winter Meetings.

Hired on Oct. 14, 2014, by Guggenheim Baseball Management to get the Dodgers to the next level, and called by CEO Stan Kasten "one of the youngest and brightest minds in the game today," Friedman inherited a back-to-back division champion from Ned Colletti.

LOS ANGELES -- Two months after Andrew Friedman took over the Dodgers as their president of baseball operations, he took over the Winter Meetings.

Hired on Oct. 14, 2014, by Guggenheim Baseball Management to get the Dodgers to the next level, and called by CEO Stan Kasten "one of the youngest and brightest minds in the game today," Friedman inherited a back-to-back division champion from Ned Colletti.

Hot Stove Tracker

Before the Winter Meetings opened in San Diego, Friedman had been joined by Farhan Zaidi, Josh Byrnes and an analytical front office reared in small-market economics. The overriding mission was to reset player development, reducing dependence on costly free agents and trades for veterans.

The Dodgers got the jump on the Winter Meetings by trading for pitchers Joel Peralta, Adam Liberatore, Mike Bolsinger and Juan Nicasio, obtaining outfielder Chris Heisey and sending catcher Drew Butera to the Angels. At the Meetings came word that the Dodgers agreed to a four-year deal with free-agent right-handed starter Brandon McCarthy and a one-year contract with free-agent left-handed starter Brett Anderson.

Then Friedman went on a trading blitzkrieg. He sent All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon, pitcher Dan Haren, infielder Miguel Rojas and $10 million to the Marlins for starting pitcher Andrew Heaney, reliever Chris Hatcher, catcher/infielder Austin Barnes and utility man Enrique Hernandez.

Friedman flipped Heaney to the Angels for Howie Kendrick to replace Gordon at second base. He dealt a pair of Minor Leaguers to the Phillies for former National League Most Valuable Player Award winner Jimmy Rollins. Rollins was the short-term shortstop placeholder between Hanley Ramirez, who left for free agency, and Corey Seager, who became a superstar.

And while in San Diego, Friedman left one of his outfielders there, dealing Matt Kemp (opening right field for Yasiel Puig) and catcher Tim Federowicz to the Padres for catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitchers Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin (saving $75 million in Kemp's future salary).

"It all gets back to us doing everything we could to mold the roster into a highly functional team, instead of a collection of talent," Friedman said of the extreme makeover. "The overall theme and mindset is to intersperse young players and not get players on the back of 30-something on long-term contracts riding down the back side of their career."

Then-manager Don Mattingly, who had a chilly relationship with Kemp, endorsed the moves.

"I just feel it's more of a team," said Mattingly. "The club last year won 94 games. We were a little crazy, but that's who we were. Nothing wrong with that. But I think the pieces will fit together better."

Friedman threaded the needle with deals that kept the Dodgers at a championship level while transitioning the organization to a more sustainable model of in-house development.

"I expect us to become a homegrown organization," said Kasten. "We will get young and will wind up with a payroll [that's] lower. Payroll is a byproduct of youth. But it's never payroll just driving decisions. Phase 1 was to get the best team on the field. Phase 2 is to transition to homegrown. This week we took tangible steps to fulfill our overarching goal to become more reliant on our infrastructure and player development. With the kind of energy and success Andrew has had, he'll really do well here."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers fall short in Ohtani sweepstakes

MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers didn't land Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani on Friday, leaving them in need of a starting pitcher but still essentially the team that fell one win shy of a World Series title.

With the Winter Meetings opening on Monday, the Dodgers are expected to either try to re-sign starting pitcher Yu Darvish or trade for a replacement; target potential setup relievers to replace Brandon Morrow, who might land closer money after his strong postseason; and retain Chase Utley or find a younger replacement as a left-handed-hitting second baseman.

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers didn't land Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani on Friday, leaving them in need of a starting pitcher but still essentially the team that fell one win shy of a World Series title.

With the Winter Meetings opening on Monday, the Dodgers are expected to either try to re-sign starting pitcher Yu Darvish or trade for a replacement; target potential setup relievers to replace Brandon Morrow, who might land closer money after his strong postseason; and retain Chase Utley or find a younger replacement as a left-handed-hitting second baseman.

Hot Stove Tracker

:: Shohei Ohtani coverage ::

And the Dodgers will no doubt continue to be mentioned in every Giancarlo Stanton trade rumor, as they would love to have him, but not his $295 million contract.

The assumption is that Stanton wants to be a Dodger. The club was hoping the same from Ohtani, whose agent did not reveal why the two-way star chose the Angels over the other six finalists. Two obvious differences between the Angels and Dodgers: The Dodgers couldn't offer Ohtani more than a $300,000 bonus. Nor could they or the other three National League finalists boost a designated-hitter spot, which creates opportunities for Ohtani to bat when he's not pitching.

If the signing bonus was a determining factor, the Dodgers were limited to a $300,000 offer, having put themselves in the penalty box for surpassing limits in recent years while snapping up more than a dozen Cuban prospects who suddenly became available.

Like the Angels, the Dodgers offered Ohtani a diverse city with a vibrant Japanese community. Unlike any other finalist, the Dodgers are coming off a World Series appearance. Like all the teams, the Dodgers have a front office willing to accommodate his unique skill set. They also have a pitching coach in Rick Honeycutt proven with Asian pitchers. The Dodgers also have a front-office staff with multiple Japanese-speaking officials and proximity to his Los Angeles-based agent.

Most scouts consider Ohtani a pitcher first, and with their starting depth the Dodgers would have been able to provide Ohatani extra days of rest as he transitions from the once-a-week workload that is normal in Japan. Since Hideo Nomo, the Dodgers have helped Asian pitchers Kaz Ishii, Hong-Chi Kuo, Takashi Saito, Hiroki Kuroda, Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Darvish thrive.

To utilize Ohtani's bat, the Dodgers were likely to put him in a corner-outfield spot, even though most of his batting appearances in Japan came as a designated hitter.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Turner has star-studded bachelor party

Justin Turner, Los Angeles' bearded jewel, put together the bachelor party of your dreams. 

After assembling a group of great talents like former NFL players LaDainian Tomlinson and Shawne Merriman, NBA stars James Harden, Chris Paul, Bobby Brown and Larry Nance Jr., former Major Leaguers Josh Satin and Ricky Romero among others, Turner and his buds held a half-court shooting competition. 

Torrance recognizes Dodgers' Peanut Man

In addition to the crack of the bat and the antics of the mascot, vendors are an essential part of what makes taking in a game at the ballpark so great. Though all vendors offer the convenience of being able to buy hot dogs and soda from your seat, the best vendors are also entertainers.

Anyone who has ever been to Dodger Stadium knows that Roger "The Peanut Man" Owens is among the best entertainers in vending because of his flashy delivery of peanuts. Tuesday night, his contributions were recognized by his hometown of Torrance, Calif.

Dodgers offer contracts to eight players

MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Friday tendered contracts to all eight of their arbitration-eligible players.

Those players and their 2017 salaries: Yasmani Grandal, $5.5 million; Alex Wood, $2.8 million; Luis Avilan, $1.5 million; Josh Fields, $1.05 million; Tony Cingrani, $618,306; Enrique Hernandez, $555,000; Pedro Baez, $550,000; Joc Pederson, $502,442.

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Friday tendered contracts to all eight of their arbitration-eligible players.

Those players and their 2017 salaries: Yasmani Grandal, $5.5 million; Alex Wood, $2.8 million; Luis Avilan, $1.5 million; Josh Fields, $1.05 million; Tony Cingrani, $618,306; Enrique Hernandez, $555,000; Pedro Baez, $550,000; Joc Pederson, $502,442.

Hot Stove Tracker

All eight players can have their salaries determined through the arbitration process if they first can't negotiate an agreement with the club.

Earlier on Friday, the Dodgers reached a one-year agreement with right-handed reliever Yimi Garcia, who missed last season after having Tommy John surgery. Garcia, who earned $550,000 in 2017, has a 3.12 ERA in 76 games from 2014-16..

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Dodgers

MLB Pipeline's Top 50 Draft prospects for 2018

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

For the first time in three years, the top spot on MLBPipeline.com's early Draft Top 50 list is not occupied by a high school pitcher. It should come as no surprise that the top guy is still a pitcher, and one from the 2017 College World Series champion Florida Gators. Right-hander Brady Singer, who helped pitch them to that title as a sophomore, is the clear choice as the best overall talent in the 2018 Draft class, which some think could be the best since 2011.

It's nothing new to see one of Florida's starting pitchers head into a new season as a potential No. 1 overall pick. Lefty A.J. Puk was No. 2 on the 2016 list behind high school left-hander Jay Groome. He ended up going No. 6 overall that June. A year ago, Gators right-hander Alex Faedo came in at No. 4 on the Top 50 led by prep phenom Hunter Greene. He ended up going No. 18 overall to the Tigers, who have the No. 1 pick in 2018. While Puk and Faedo were obviously highly regarded, scouts do feel Singer's all-around game on the mound gives him a better chance to stay in that 1-1 conversation.

For the first time in three years, the top spot on MLBPipeline.com's early Draft Top 50 list is not occupied by a high school pitcher. It should come as no surprise that the top guy is still a pitcher, and one from the 2017 College World Series champion Florida Gators. Right-hander Brady Singer, who helped pitch them to that title as a sophomore, is the clear choice as the best overall talent in the 2018 Draft class, which some think could be the best since 2011.

It's nothing new to see one of Florida's starting pitchers head into a new season as a potential No. 1 overall pick. Lefty A.J. Puk was No. 2 on the 2016 list behind high school left-hander Jay Groome. He ended up going No. 6 overall that June. A year ago, Gators right-hander Alex Faedo came in at No. 4 on the Top 50 led by prep phenom Hunter Greene. He ended up going No. 18 overall to the Tigers, who have the No. 1 pick in 2018. While Puk and Faedo were obviously highly regarded, scouts do feel Singer's all-around game on the mound gives him a better chance to stay in that 1-1 conversation.

Top Draft Prospects

"There's less things that can go wrong," one National League scouting director said. "I can't see him coming out and 'laying an egg,' so to speak. He's a little more of a pitcher, when they were more power guys."

While the list doesn't have a high schooler at No. 1, it does have a ton of high-end prep pitching on it, starting at No. 2 with Ethan Hankins. The Atlanta area standout had a very impressive summer and is armed with the best fastball in the Top 50. He might not be atop the list, but that doesn't mean he doesn't belong in the same class as Groome and Greene, who went No. 12 and No. 2 in their respective Drafts.

"He's right up there," the scouting director said. "He's very, very impressive. He has size, strength and stuff. What Hunter had over him, he could do it as a position player, so you knew that when he gives that up, there might be more to come. But he's right up there with the better high school kids I've seen in the last couple of years."

2018 Draft order | 2018 Draft: June 4-6 | All-time Draft picks

The top high school bat comes in at No. 4 on the list in the form of Phoenix-area infielder Nolan Gorman. His raw power was on display for much of the summer as he stood out in multiple elite-level home run derbies, with the ability to drive the ball also showing up in games. Nick Madrigal is the top college position player on the list, coming in at No. 11. He's undersized, but that doesn't seem to matter as much these days, and the Oregon State infielder has a strong track record and perhaps the best hit tool in the class.

Video: Draft Report: Nick Madrigal, College 2B/SS

College hitters are often hard to come by, especially this early, but scouts are encouraged that there seems to be more advanced bats to consider in the first round than usual. Given that college performers tend to float up as the Draft nears, seeing Madrigal or some of the others on this Top 50 land in the top 10 seems very feasible.

"I think I like the list this year more than last year," the scouting director said. "I like the depth. There's college pitching, if you're at the top. I think there are some college position players. Who were the college players last year at the top? There's very good high school pitching. I think it's deeper all the way around."

Class breakdown

It's a fairly even split in this year's Top 50, with 26 high schoolers and 24 from the college ranks. It's split right down the middle at the top, with the top 10 filled with five college players and five prepsters. While it is pitching heavy at the top, with seven of the top 10 on the mound, there are more bats to be found later on. That speaks to the aforementioned depth. There might not be a college bat in the top 10, but there are five in the 11-20 range -- led by Madrigal at No. 11 -- and no one would be surprised to see some of them end up in the top 10 once the Draft rolls around.

In total, there are a dozen college hitters in the Top 50, up from eight a year ago. The 12 college pitchers on the list, five in the top 10, is down a touch from 15 on our 2017 Top 50. Of the 26 high schoolers, half are pitchers. High school right-handers are a particular strength in this class, with 11 in this Top 50. The complete positional breakdown of this list is as a follows:

RHP: 18
OF: 11
LHP: 7
SS: 4
1B: 3
3B: 3
C: 3
2B: 1

Top tools

All players, as always, are given grades on the 20-to-80 scouting scale for all tools or pitches. These are future grades, a reflection of what the scouting industry thinks each of these amateur players can become in the future. Here are the top grades for each tool and pitch.

Position players
Hit: 60 - Nick Madrigal, 2B/SS, Oregon State, Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha (Wis.) West HS
Power: 60 - Nolan Gorman, O'Connor HS (Phoenix)
Run: 70 - Xavier Edwards, SS, North Broward Prep (Coconut Creek, Fla.), Connor Scott, OF, Plant HS (Tampa, Fla.)
Arm: 70 - Joe Gray Jr., OF, Hatiesburg (Miss.) HS, Will Banfield, C, Brookwood HS (Snellville, Ga.)
Field: 60 - Mike Siani, OF, William Penn Charter (Philadelphia), Alek Thomas, OF, Mount Carmel HS (Chicago)

Pitchers
Fastball: 80 - Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS (Cumming, Ga.)
Curveball: 65 - Tim Cate, LHP, Connecticut
Slider: 65 - Brady Singer, RHP, Florida
Changeup: 65 - Steven Gingery, LHP, Texas Tech
Control: 60 - Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Turner, fiancee meet Ed Sheeran after concert

Two of the world's most prominent redheads joined forces on Friday night (sorry, Conan O'Brien and Prince Harry ... maybe next time).

In Los Angeles, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner and his fiancée, Kourtney, went to a Jingle Ball holiday concert at the Forum. Turner documented their excitement seeing a set from Ed Sheeran with various Instagram Story videos throughout the night, a few of them featuring some enthusiastic singing from the pair. 

Brown, Ortiz hired as asst. hitting coaches

MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Friday hired former Major Leaguers Brant Brown and Luis Ortiz to serve the dual roles of assistant hitting coach/Minor League hitting coordinator. Turner Ward is expected to return as the Major League hitting coach.

Brown and Ortiz essentially replace assistant hitting coach Tim Hyers, whom the Red Sox hired to be their Major League hitting coach, and Triple-A hitting coach Shawn Wooten, who was let go.

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Friday hired former Major Leaguers Brant Brown and Luis Ortiz to serve the dual roles of assistant hitting coach/Minor League hitting coordinator. Turner Ward is expected to return as the Major League hitting coach.

Brown and Ortiz essentially replace assistant hitting coach Tim Hyers, whom the Red Sox hired to be their Major League hitting coach, and Triple-A hitting coach Shawn Wooten, who was let go.

Brown, 46, spent the past five seasons in the Mariners' organization, the last two as the team's offensive coordinator. He was a hitting coach in the Rangers' organization for six seasons after a professional career that included stints with the Cubs, Pirates and Marlins. He was a three-year starter at Fresno State.

Dodgers promote Gomes to replace Kapler

Coming from Seattle's organization, Brown would be a known commodity to Kyle Seager, brother of shortstop and two-time National League Silver Slugger Award winner Corey Seager, who is among a core of young Dodgers hitters -- including Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson -- that worked closely with Wooten.

Seager said last week that he was disappointed with Wooten's dismissal, but he appreciated that Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman called to notify him of the decision "out of respect." Seager accepted management's right to make a change.

"It was very nice of Andrew to call me. He didn't have to do that," Seager said. "I wasn't involved in the decisions. I told him, he's the boss, I am an employee. They know how much [Shawn] meant to me. I have to have an open mind. He asked me if I wanted to call the guys he was looking at hiring, and I told him no. It's not my decision. He's got to look out for the entire organization, not just me. I didn't want to swing his decision in either way. I'll just have to talk to the guys and get to know them.

"I have to get comfortable with a guy to trust him to see the things I'm asking him to look for. With Shawn, we built a relationship. You can feel things are wrong, and I have to have a guy I can trust tell me what I need to do to get it right."

Ortiz, 47, served as the Padres' field and hitting coordinator for the past three seasons. He also worked for the Indians and Rangers after 14 professional seasons that included four years in the Major Leagues with Boston and Texas.

A native of the Dominican Republic, the Red Sox selected Ortiz in the eighth round of the 1991 Draft out of Union University in Tennessee. In 1994, Boston dealt him and Otis Nixon to Texas for Jose Canseco. Ortiz also played parts of seasons in Japan, Mexico and the independent Northern League.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers promote Gomes to replace Kapler

LA also adds longtime Rays trainer as director of player health
MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers began filling staff openings on Friday by promoting Brandon Gomes to director of player development and confirming the addition of longtime Rays trainer Ron Porterfield as director of player health.

Gomes, 33, joined the Dodgers last year as pitching coordinator, performance, after a five-year Major League pitching career with Tampa Bay, where he worked for current Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. He pitched in 19 games for the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate in 2016 before being released. Gomes replaces Gabe Kapler, who was hired to manage the Phillies.

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers began filling staff openings on Friday by promoting Brandon Gomes to director of player development and confirming the addition of longtime Rays trainer Ron Porterfield as director of player health.

Gomes, 33, joined the Dodgers last year as pitching coordinator, performance, after a five-year Major League pitching career with Tampa Bay, where he worked for current Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. He pitched in 19 games for the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate in 2016 before being released. Gomes replaces Gabe Kapler, who was hired to manage the Phillies.

Gomes is a Massachusetts native who graduated from Tulane with a double major in finance and legal studies. The Padres selected him in the 17th round of the 2007 Draft and dealt him in '10 to the Rays, where he went 11-12 with a 4.20 ERA from '11-15.

Porterfield, 52, assumes a new position overseeing the athletic training and rehab staffs on the Major League and Minor League levels. He will be based at the team's Camelback Ranch-Glendale training complex after serving 21 years with the Rays, where he also worked for Friedman.

Porterfield was Tampa Bay's head athletic trainer the past 12 seasons after three years as assistant trainer. He also spent eight years in the Houston organization with Dodgers executive Gerry Hunsicker, who worked with Porterfield and Friedman in Tampa Bay.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Joc, Champ accept award for Pujols Foundation

Pedersons honored to help celebrate slugger's charitable contributions
MLB.com @kengurnick

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- At the 24th annual ETTA Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Wednesday night, the Albert Pujols Foundation received the Community Philanthropy Award, and accepting was Joc Pederson and his older brother, Champ.

A Dodgers outfielder and his brother with Down Syndrome accepting an award for an Angels slugger is a baseball version of the inclusion at the core of the mission of ETTA, a non-profit that focuses on creating a community for adults with special needs, executive director Michael Held said.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- At the 24th annual ETTA Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Wednesday night, the Albert Pujols Foundation received the Community Philanthropy Award, and accepting was Joc Pederson and his older brother, Champ.

A Dodgers outfielder and his brother with Down Syndrome accepting an award for an Angels slugger is a baseball version of the inclusion at the core of the mission of ETTA, a non-profit that focuses on creating a community for adults with special needs, executive director Michael Held said.

"We make it possible for families with special needs to have a rich, wonderful life together living in Los Angeles," said Held. "We're honoring the Albert Pujols Foundation, which is well known for its commitment to children with disabilities and special needs."

The ties that bind Pujols and the Pedersons were on display at the 2015 Home Run Derby, when Pujols was edged by Joc, 12-11. Pujols gave him a congratulatory hug, then lifted up Champ with a gentle and touching bear hug. Pujols has a daughter with Down Syndrome.

Video: Pujols hugs it out with Champ Pederson

"Albert is a mentor to me on the baseball field and in the way he handles himself off the field," said Joc, whose roller-coaster season included three World Series home runs and will be capped by his wedding next month. "Albert's foundation does so many great things in the community, and I'm happy to be here supporting him. He does a lot for people that see the world a little different."

Said Champ, "Pujols is someone I care about. He is a great human being. He's an Angel, not a Dodger, and I'm still a Dodger fan, but I'm also an Albert fan. He gave me a jersey."

Joc said he was pleased to be asked to accept on Pujols' behalf because of the work the slugger's foundation does on behalf of those with Down Syndrome.

"Having a brother with a disability really opens your eyes and you realize that people look at them differently. People think they're incapable, just not able to do things," Joc said. "Maybe they're not capable of doing everything we can do, but some of them are the most intelligent people I know. When they have tasks that are manageable, they execute them perfectly. Sometimes it's harder for them to get jobs in the real world, so organizations like these that can help give them those opportunities to enjoy some of life like the rest of us."

Video: WS2017 Gm1: Lopez, Lowe, Champ Pederson cheer Dodgers

Champ said one of his great highlights was being asked by the Dodgers to deliver the pregame "It's time for Dodger baseball" prior to Game 1 of the World Series.

"Champ has a lot of passion, always has a lot of passion in life," said Joc. "That rubs off on people in a positive way. Dave Roberts likes to have that positive energy of Champ's, to keep everyone in perspective that we get to play a game that we love. And it really was something big for Champ. [Dodgers exec] Lon Rosen asked him, and he's helped our family a lot. It was a special moment and you saw the stadium light up and get loud, and he enjoyed every moment of it."

Champ hopes his brother's team can give him another shot at firing up the Dodger Stadium crowd before a postseason game.

"I can't wait," said Champ. "I'll be more than happy to do it again."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Joc Pederson

Rose Bowl unveils new Robinson statue

You know all about Jackie Robinson's indelible impact on the game of baseball, but did you know that he was also an accomplished college football player? Robinson played at Pasadena Junior College and then lettered in the sport (and three other sports) at UCLA. As a senior in 1940, he led the Bruins in rushing (383 yards), passing (444 yards), total offense (827 yards), scoring (36 points) and punt returns (21.0 average). Robinson also played many games at the Rose Bowl -- his 104-yard kickoff return is still apparently the longest in stadium history -- so on Wednesday, the stadium honored Jackie's legend with a statue.