With the Dodgers being in the largest market outside of New York, what are the chances they create a regional sports network like YES, NESN, and SportsNet New York?
-- Eddie Y., Cerritos, Calif.
Anything is possible, but it doesn't appear that will happen anytime soon. The Dodgers' current television deals with Fox Sports and KCAL run through 2013. Remember, when the McCourts bought the club in 2004, they bought it from Fox's parent News Corp. The only reason News Corp. bought the club from the O'Malley family was for the programming. So, even though they sold the team, News Corp. still valued the programming and insisted on a long-term TV rights deal. Without that, the team wouldn't have been sold to the McCourts for the $430 million sales price.
What players do the Dodgers risk losing in the Rule 5 Draft?
-- Lars G., Vejle, Denmark
Wesley Wright is the kind of pitcher that might entice a club to ante up $50,000 -- left-handed, was dominant at Double-A, then struggled at Triple-A. He's on the small side, but left-handed relievers are hard to find. Also among the exposed -- pitchers David Pfeiffer, Jordan Pratt and Miguel Ramirez; outfielder Alfredo Silverio and infielders Eduardo Perez and Javany Rosario.
Why don't the Las Vegas 51s use a Rockies-style humidor to simulate sea level conditions?
-- Greg P., Ventura, Calif.
Here's the answer from Jim Gemma, the Las Vegas public relations director: "In the 25 years Las Vegas has been a member of the PCL (1983-2007), we have not used a humidor for the baseballs. ... There is no doubt that Cashman Field is a hitter's ballpark as well as other numerous parks in the PCL, however, Cashman Field has the largest center field in the entire PCL at 433 feet. Last season, the 51s hit a total of 147 home runs (80 at home and 67 on the road). The 51s pitching staff allowed 153 home runs (83 at home and 70 on the road). James Loney hit zero home runs at Cashman Field in 124 at bats and Matt Kemp hit three home runs in 90 at bats at Cashman in 2007. Also, in 2006, the 51s hit a total of 106 home runs (53 at home and 53 on road) and the pitching staff allowed 139 home runs (67 at home and 72 on road).
Can you give us some injury updates?
-- Tom K., Lexington, Ky.
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Trainer Stan Conte said all injured Dodgers are on schedule to be competitive in Spring Training. Specifically, Jason Schmidt (shoulder surgery) has just begun to toss. Brad Penny (sports hernia) and Derek Lowe (hip labrum) finished the season healthy and required no surgery. Hong-chih Kuo (elbow surgery) is on his normal offseason program. Tony Abreu (hernia surgery) has completed his initial recovery and is about to resume baseball activities. Rafael Furcal (ankle sprain) feels good enough to be considering winter ball. Nomar Garciaparra (calf) is undergoing his normal offseason rehab and training regimen. Chin-lung Hu (hamstring) has recovered and will join the Taiwan national team. Yhency Brazoban (shoulder surgery) is about to begin bullpen sessions. Jason Repko (hamstring surgery, ankle stress fracture) is resting the ankle, but the hamstring is healed. Minor Leaguers Scott Elbert (shoulder surgery) and Bryan Morris (elbow surgery) are also expected to be ready for Spring Training.
Because the Dodgers' 2008 Spring Training looks to be a complete mishmash with games possible in China, Florida and Arizona as well as Los Angeles, what do you think is the potential effect that this could have on a recovering fourth-place club trying to find its identity with a new manager?
-- Josh S., Los Angeles
Great question, and one that fans must hope management has considered. It can't be the way Joe Torre would have planned it. That said, at least the distractions will be clustered toward the end of Spring Training. As for the tone-setting, it occurs in the first few weeks of Spring Training, before games begin. But the actual familiarization between a new manager and what his players are capable of occurs more during games. Let's put it this way: Torre is the highest-paid manager in the game and he'll be earning it immediately.
Did the Dodgers sign Chan Ho Park and Rene Rivera to non-roster contracts?
-- Rudy G., Riverside, Calif.
Yes on Rivera, not exactly on Park. Rivera is a catcher who has big league experience with Seattle. Park, a former Dodger whose career has tumbled, passed up a deal to pitch for the Korean national team.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.