LOS ANGELES -- Ground will be broken next week on Dodger Stadium upgrades, and although club officials have been tight-lipped on details, a source has surfaced after getting a glimpse of the blueprints.
"It's awesome," said starting pitcher Aaron Harang.
A disclaimer: Harang only saw plans for the new home clubhouse, not any of the creature-comfort amenities that will be added for fans, which include a state-of-the-art video board.
While players' quarters are not likely on the radar of fans, uniform personnel have complained for years about the antiquated Dodger Stadium clubhouses, especially for the home team, which at 50 years is the oldest in the National League (the home clubhouse at Wrigley Field was renovated in 1984). Plans for new clubhouses date back more than a decade.
Currently, the Dodgers' clubhouse is behind the dugout, with a small dining area (but no true kitchen), an even smaller manager's office and a coaches dressing area. To reach the outdated training room, one must first pass through the bathroom, running a gauntlet between sinks, stalls and urinals. Beyond the training room is the weight room, converted out of the old Angels' clubhouse, and beyond that the batting cages, all hidden from view under the field level.
Harang said all of those areas will be rebuilt and enlarged -- with the batting cage on a newly excavated lower level conveniently near the dugout, and a video room conveniently next to the batting cage. And the visitors will have their own batting cage.
"It's tough the way it is now, and a little awkward when you have opponents literally walking through your clubhouse to get to the weight room or cages while you're preparing for the game," Harang said. "And you could see at the end of the season with the callups how crowded the clubhouse got. It was like herding sheep in there."
Harang sees the clubhouse renovation as another example of ownership following through on promises made when it took over, similar to the roster upgrades made during the summer.
"They laid it out -- this is what we want to do, to win, and we'll make upgrades to the stadium so we can prepare you better for the games," he said. "Everything will be laid out better, the trainers will have the room to care for everybody and nobody will be in the way."
Harang is one of the few Dodgers who have no medical update to give. He pretty much delivered as promised when he was signed last winter to be an innings-eating addition to the rotation with Hiroki Kuroda leaving as a free agent.
"I felt like I came in and did what I was brought here to do, to give us an opportunity to win games when I went out there," he said.
He went 10-10 with a 3.61 ERA, throwing 179 2/3 innings in 31 starts. That's his most starts since 2007 and most innings since 2008, but 85 walks were 27 more than his previous career high.
"That's the one thing I want to cut down," he said of the walks. "I feel that too often the walks score runs and they were killing me. I couldn't tell you why they were up this year. It could be when I'd get two strikes, I tried to get too fine, too precise instead of staying aggressive."