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Dodgers, Diamondbacks arrive Down Under

KDWN

SYDNEY (AP) — Adrian Gonzalez ripped line drives to all areas of the park, often scattering his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates in the outfield from the safety of the batting cage. It was just a few hours after arriving in Australia, with his body thinking it was about midnight.

Still, the first baseman who led the Dodgers in hits, home runs, RBIs and games played last season did a good job of making Sydney Cricket Ground, the home for two Major League Baseball season-opening games this weekend, sound and look like a real ballpark.

The Dodgers and their weekend opponents, the Arizona Diamondbacks, arrived early Tuesday on separate jumbos from the U.S. west coast. It was a 15-hour flight and took the teams across the International Date Line, missing Monday altogether, and putting them in a time zone 18 hours ahead of the one they left behind.

Hence Gonzalez in the batting cage was well past his usual bedtime, but looking pretty impressive.

“We’re all very excited to be here,” Gonzalez said before the Dodgers’ workout. “We’ll have a few hits, see how the ball carries, but it all looks like a real ball park.”

Vin Scully, the 86-year-old Dodgers’ announcer, proclaimed after he got off the plane that “it’s great to be here,” and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and his Diamondbacks counterpart Kirk Gibson later gave the ball field a similar thumbs-up.

“No question, everyone is saying that having a chance to start the season here in Sydney, to be able to get out of spring training a bit early, it’s great,” said Mattingly. “Let’s get this thing started.”

Gibson said he had fond memories of Australia because he spent his honeymoon here in 1985 “and that part worked out pretty good, so I hope this does.”

“Of all the historic places we’ve played over the years, you walk in and you can see they’ve put a lot of work into the field,” Gibson added. “And I’ve been told by (Diamondbacks’ Australian relief pitcher) Ryan Rowland-Smith, it’s fair dinkum.”

Translated, that means he thinks it’s a pretty good place to play baseball.

Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was in the best position to judge the change to Sydney Cricket Ground, having been part of a promotional visit here last year.

“When I was here it was set up for cricket matches, but you wouldn’t know that walking out there today,” he said. “Very impressed.”

Goldschmidt said he was surprised by the distance in foul territory between the baselines and the stands. That’s in keeping with the natural shape of a cricket ground, where the batting “wicket” is usually closer to the center of the ground and the entire field is in play.

“Foul territory, that’s going to be the big difference,” Goldschmidt said. “But baseball stadiums are different in the States, so it’ll just take some adjusting. We’ll work it out in the next few days.”

The teams will only have one workout Wednesday before taking on Team Australia in a pair of exhibition games – the Diamondbacks on Thursday and the Dodgers on Friday.

Clayton Kershaw, who spent time Tuesday stretching in the outfield bullpen, will start for the Dodgers in Saturday’s season opener. Left-hander Wade Miley replaces Patrick Corbin, who has a left elbow injury, as the Diamondbacks starter.

Gibson said Tuesday the Diamondbacks were still waiting for a second opinion on the severity of Corbin’s injury, which could require surgery and put him out for the season.

The teams will close out the two-game series Sunday when the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu is slated to start against Arizona’s Trevor Cahill.

The series marks the first regular-season games in Australia. Previous MLB season openers were held in Monterrey, Mexico (1999), San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001) and four times in Tokyo, most recently in 2012.

The weekend games will mark the 100th anniversary of an exhibition game played by the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants at the same stadium.

Capacity crowds of about 40,000 are expected for both games at the historic ground where Australia’s cricket teams have played memorable matches for the past century and a half. In keeping with the theme, Goldschmidt and Gonzalez were presented with cricket bats signed by Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke.

The two first basemen were asked to pose with the bats, and a few in the crowd chuckled when Gonzalez initially slung it over his shoulder in a very un-cricket like pose. But he quickly adopted an impressive Clarke-like stance for the cameras.

Gonzalez also prompted laughter later when he answered a question in Spanish for about 30 seconds. When asked for a translation into English, his response took only several seconds. He smiled and said: “We’re ready to go.”

Dodgers, Diamondbacks arrive Down Under

KDWN

SYDNEY (AP) — Adrian Gonzalez ripped line drives to all areas of the park, often scattering his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates in the outfield from the safety of the batting cage. It was just a few hours after arriving in Australia, with his body thinking it was about midnight.

Still, the first baseman who led the Dodgers in hits, home runs, RBIs and games played last season did a good job of making Sydney Cricket Ground, the home for two Major League Baseball season-opening games this weekend, sound and look like a real ballpark.

The Dodgers and their weekend opponents, the Arizona Diamondbacks, arrived early Tuesday on separate jumbos from the U.S. west coast. It was a 15-hour flight and took the teams across the International Date Line, missing Monday altogether, and putting them in a time zone 18 hours ahead of the one they left behind.

Hence Gonzalez in the batting cage was well past his usual bedtime, but looking pretty impressive.

“We’re all very excited to be here,” Gonzalez said before the Dodgers’ workout. “We’ll have a few hits, see how the ball carries, but it all looks like a real ball park.”

Vin Scully, the 86-year-old Dodgers’ announcer, proclaimed after he got off the plane that “it’s great to be here,” and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and his Diamondbacks counterpart Kirk Gibson later gave the ball field a similar thumbs-up.

“No question, everyone is saying that having a chance to start the season here in Sydney, to be able to get out of spring training a bit early, it’s great,” said Mattingly. “Let’s get this thing started.”

Gibson said he had fond memories of Australia because he spent his honeymoon here in 1985 “and that part worked out pretty good, so I hope this does.”

“Of all the historic places we’ve played over the years, you walk in and you can see they’ve put a lot of work into the field,” Gibson added. “And I’ve been told by (Diamondbacks’ Australian relief pitcher) Ryan Rowland-Smith, it’s fair dinkum.”

Translated, that means he thinks it’s a pretty good place to play baseball.

Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was in the best position to judge the change to Sydney Cricket Ground, having been part of a promotional visit here last year.

“When I was here it was set up for cricket matches, but you wouldn’t know that walking out there today,” he said. “Very impressed.”

Goldschmidt said he was surprised by the distance in foul territory between the baselines and the stands. That’s in keeping with the natural shape of a cricket ground, where the batting “wicket” is usually closer to the center of the ground and the entire field is in play.

“Foul territory, that’s going to be the big difference,” Goldschmidt said. “But baseball stadiums are different in the States, so it’ll just take some adjusting. We’ll work it out in the next few days.”

The teams will only have one workout Wednesday before taking on Team Australia in a pair of exhibition games – the Diamondbacks on Thursday and the Dodgers on Friday.

Clayton Kershaw, who spent time Tuesday stretching in the outfield bullpen, will start for the Dodgers in Saturday’s season opener. Left-hander Wade Miley replaces Patrick Corbin, who has a left elbow injury, as the Diamondbacks starter.

Gibson said Tuesday the Diamondbacks were still waiting for a second opinion on the severity of Corbin’s injury, which could require surgery and put him out for the season.

The teams will close out the two-game series Sunday when the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu is slated to start against Arizona’s Trevor Cahill.

The series marks the first regular-season games in Australia. Previous MLB season openers were held in Monterrey, Mexico (1999), San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001) and four times in Tokyo, most recently in 2012.

The weekend games will mark the 100th anniversary of an exhibition game played by the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants at the same stadium.

Capacity crowds of about 40,000 are expected for both games at the historic ground where Australia’s cricket teams have played memorable matches for the past century and a half. In keeping with the theme, Goldschmidt and Gonzalez were presented with cricket bats signed by Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke.

The two first basemen were asked to pose with the bats, and a few in the crowd chuckled when Gonzalez initially slung it over his shoulder in a very un-cricket like pose. But he quickly adopted an impressive Clarke-like stance for the cameras.

Gonzalez also prompted laughter later when he answered a question in Spanish for about 30 seconds. When asked for a translation into English, his response took only several seconds. He smiled and said: “We’re ready to go.”

Dodgers, Diamondbacks arrive Down Under

KDWN

SYDNEY (AP) — Adrian Gonzalez ripped line drives to all areas of the park, often scattering his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates in the outfield from the safety of the batting cage. It was just a few hours after arriving in Australia, with his body thinking it was about midnight.

Still, the first baseman who led the Dodgers in hits, home runs, RBIs and games played last season did a good job of making Sydney Cricket Ground, the home for two Major League Baseball season-opening games this weekend, sound and look like a real ballpark.

The Dodgers and their weekend opponents, the Arizona Diamondbacks, arrived early Tuesday on separate jumbos from the U.S. west coast. It was a 15-hour flight and took the teams across the International Date Line, missing Monday altogether, and putting them in a time zone 18 hours ahead of the one they left behind.

Hence Gonzalez in the batting cage was well past his usual bedtime, but looking pretty impressive.

“We’re all very excited to be here,” Gonzalez said before the Dodgers’ workout. “We’ll have a few hits, see how the ball carries, but it all looks like a real ball park.”

Vin Scully, the 86-year-old Dodgers’ announcer, proclaimed after he got off the plane that “it’s great to be here,” and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and his Diamondbacks counterpart Kirk Gibson later gave the ball field a similar thumbs-up.

“No question, everyone is saying that having a chance to start the season here in Sydney, to be able to get out of spring training a bit early, it’s great,” said Mattingly. “Let’s get this thing started.”

Gibson said he had fond memories of Australia because he spent his honeymoon here in 1985 “and that part worked out pretty good, so I hope this does.”

“Of all the historic places we’ve played over the years, you walk in and you can see they’ve put a lot of work into the field,” Gibson added. “And I’ve been told by (Diamondbacks’ Australian relief pitcher) Ryan Rowland-Smith, it’s fair dinkum.”

Translated, that means he thinks it’s a pretty good place to play baseball.

Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was in the best position to judge the change to Sydney Cricket Ground, having been part of a promotional visit here last year.

“When I was here it was set up for cricket matches, but you wouldn’t know that walking out there today,” he said. “Very impressed.”

Goldschmidt said he was surprised by the distance in foul territory between the baselines and the stands. That’s in keeping with the natural shape of a cricket ground, where the batting “wicket” is usually closer to the center of the ground and the entire field is in play.

“Foul territory, that’s going to be the big difference,” Goldschmidt said. “But baseball stadiums are different in the States, so it’ll just take some adjusting. We’ll work it out in the next few days.”

The teams will only have one workout Wednesday before taking on Team Australia in a pair of exhibition games – the Diamondbacks on Thursday and the Dodgers on Friday.

Clayton Kershaw, who spent time Tuesday stretching in the outfield bullpen, will start for the Dodgers in Saturday’s season opener. Left-hander Wade Miley replaces Patrick Corbin, who has a left elbow injury, as the Diamondbacks starter.

Gibson said Tuesday the Diamondbacks were still waiting for a second opinion on the severity of Corbin’s injury, which could require surgery and put him out for the season.

The teams will close out the two-game series Sunday when the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu is slated to start against Arizona’s Trevor Cahill.

The series marks the first regular-season games in Australia. Previous MLB season openers were held in Monterrey, Mexico (1999), San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001) and four times in Tokyo, most recently in 2012.

The weekend games will mark the 100th anniversary of an exhibition game played by the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants at the same stadium.

Capacity crowds of about 40,000 are expected for both games at the historic ground where Australia’s cricket teams have played memorable matches for the past century and a half. In keeping with the theme, Goldschmidt and Gonzalez were presented with cricket bats signed by Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke.

The two first basemen were asked to pose with the bats, and a few in the crowd chuckled when Gonzalez initially slung it over his shoulder in a very un-cricket like pose. But he quickly adopted an impressive Clarke-like stance for the cameras.

Gonzalez also prompted laughter later when he answered a question in Spanish for about 30 seconds. When asked for a translation into English, his response took only several seconds. He smiled and said: “We’re ready to go.”

Dodgers, Diamondbacks arrive Down Under

KDWN

SYDNEY (AP) — Adrian Gonzalez ripped line drives to all areas of the park, often scattering his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates in the outfield from the safety of the batting cage. It was just a few hours after arriving in Australia, with his body thinking it was about midnight.

Still, the first baseman who led the Dodgers in hits, home runs, RBIs and games played last season did a good job of making Sydney Cricket Ground, the home for two Major League Baseball season-opening games this weekend, sound and look like a real ballpark.

The Dodgers and their weekend opponents, the Arizona Diamondbacks, arrived early Tuesday on separate jumbos from the U.S. west coast. It was a 15-hour flight and took the teams across the International Date Line, missing Monday altogether, and putting them in a time zone 18 hours ahead of the one they left behind.

Hence Gonzalez in the batting cage was well past his usual bedtime, but looking pretty impressive.

“We’re all very excited to be here,” Gonzalez said before the Dodgers’ workout. “We’ll have a few hits, see how the ball carries, but it all looks like a real ball park.”

Vin Scully, the 86-year-old Dodgers’ announcer, proclaimed after he got off the plane that “it’s great to be here,” and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and his Diamondbacks counterpart Kirk Gibson later gave the ball field a similar thumbs-up.

“No question, everyone is saying that having a chance to start the season here in Sydney, to be able to get out of spring training a bit early, it’s great,” said Mattingly. “Let’s get this thing started.”

Gibson said he had fond memories of Australia because he spent his honeymoon here in 1985 “and that part worked out pretty good, so I hope this does.”

“Of all the historic places we’ve played over the years, you walk in and you can see they’ve put a lot of work into the field,” Gibson added. “And I’ve been told by (Diamondbacks’ Australian relief pitcher) Ryan Rowland-Smith, it’s fair dinkum.”

Translated, that means he thinks it’s a pretty good place to play baseball.

Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was in the best position to judge the change to Sydney Cricket Ground, having been part of a promotional visit here last year.

“When I was here it was set up for cricket matches, but you wouldn’t know that walking out there today,” he said. “Very impressed.”

Goldschmidt said he was surprised by the distance in foul territory between the baselines and the stands. That’s in keeping with the natural shape of a cricket ground, where the batting “wicket” is usually closer to the center of the ground and the entire field is in play.

“Foul territory, that’s going to be the big difference,” Goldschmidt said. “But baseball stadiums are different in the States, so it’ll just take some adjusting. We’ll work it out in the next few days.”

The teams will only have one workout Wednesday before taking on Team Australia in a pair of exhibition games – the Diamondbacks on Thursday and the Dodgers on Friday.

Clayton Kershaw, who spent time Tuesday stretching in the outfield bullpen, will start for the Dodgers in Saturday’s season opener. Left-hander Wade Miley replaces Patrick Corbin, who has a left elbow injury, as the Diamondbacks starter.

Gibson said Tuesday the Diamondbacks were still waiting for a second opinion on the severity of Corbin’s injury, which could require surgery and put him out for the season.

The teams will close out the two-game series Sunday when the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu is slated to start against Arizona’s Trevor Cahill.

The series marks the first regular-season games in Australia. Previous MLB season openers were held in Monterrey, Mexico (1999), San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001) and four times in Tokyo, most recently in 2012.

The weekend games will mark the 100th anniversary of an exhibition game played by the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants at the same stadium.

Capacity crowds of about 40,000 are expected for both games at the historic ground where Australia’s cricket teams have played memorable matches for the past century and a half. In keeping with the theme, Goldschmidt and Gonzalez were presented with cricket bats signed by Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke.

The two first basemen were asked to pose with the bats, and a few in the crowd chuckled when Gonzalez initially slung it over his shoulder in a very un-cricket like pose. But he quickly adopted an impressive Clarke-like stance for the cameras.

Gonzalez also prompted laughter later when he answered a question in Spanish for about 30 seconds. When asked for a translation into English, his response took only several seconds. He smiled and said: “We’re ready to go.”

Dodgers, Diamondbacks arrive Down Under

KDWN

SYDNEY (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers arrived to a very low-key welcome in Australia on Tuesday for their Major League Baseball season-opening series this weekend after 15-hour flights from the U.S. west coast.

The Diamondbacks arrived first at Sydney airport about 6 a.m. local time Tuesday, followed about four hours later by the Dodgers.

“It’s great to be here,” said Dodgers’ veteran announcer Vin Scully.

There were only a few autograph seekers to meet both teams, unlike recent opening-day series in Tokyo where arriving teams were mobbed by fans. Several airport travelers Tuesday asked the media who the high-profile looking arrivals were.

Within six hours of arriving, the Diamondbacks held their first light workout at Sydney Cricket Ground, where Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers in Saturday’s season opener and left-hander Wade Miley replaces Patrick Corbin, who has a left elbow injury, as the Diamondbacks starter.

They’ll close out the two-game series Sunday when the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu is slated to start against Arizona’s Trevor Cahill.

Under sunny skies, Arizona first base coach Dave McKay was one of the first to survey the SCG diamond – 328 feet down the foul lines, 400 feet to straightaway center field.

“Looks all great,” said McKay. “Although I can’t believe the distance from home plate to the seats in foul territory. There’s quite a bit of room there.”

Manager Kirk Gibson watched the team stretch and take infield practice. Other coaches hit popups to the outfield and let them hit hard on the natural turf to determine the amount of bounce: the verdict was that there was a lot of it.

The infield dirt and sand combination was also tested, but there shouldn’t be anything unfamiliar in it: the MLB-certified dirt was imported from the United States in nearly 20 shipping containers.

The Dodgers will play Team Australia in an exhibition game Thursday, with the Diamondbacks to play Australia on Friday.

The series marks the first regular-season games in Australia. Previous MLB season openers were held in Monterrey, Mexico (1999), San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001) and four times in Tokyo, most recently in 2012.

The weekend games will mark the 100th anniversary of an exhibition game played by the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants at the Sydney Cricket Ground, won 5-4 by the White Sox before 10,000 fans on Jan. 3, 1914.

Capacity crowds of about 40,000 are expected for both games.