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Los Angeles Dodgers: Brian Wilson Expected to Be Activated Sunday

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brian Wilson appears to be close to returning to the big league diamond. According to multiple sources, the former San Francisco Giant is expected to be activated Sunday after successfully throwing the equivalent of 1.1 innings in a simulated game on Friday. Wilson threw to Dee Gordon, Nick Punto and Matt Kemp (twice). He wore number 00.

Wilson has been solid in his recent minor league appearances, throwing 3.1 scoreless innings.  

The Dodgers are hoping Wilson can add to a bullpen that has been very dominant recently. In July, Dodgers relievers led the National League with a 2.52 ERA and have become even more dangerous in August with a 1.97 ERA, according to ESPN stats.

Wilson was signed to a one-year, $1 million contract last month. He has not pitched since undergoing Tommy John surgery. 

Manager Don Mattingly and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt watched Wilson’s simulated game. Mattingly compared what he saw Friday to Wilson’s time with San Francisco and said, “He looks pretty much the same (as he did with the Giants),” according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.  

Wilson is a former All-Star closer with a career that includes 171 saves and an ERA of 3.21. His best season was 2010 where he posted a 1.81 ERA, recorded 48 saves and won a World Series ring.  

His experience in pressure moments in big games will be extremely valuable to the Dodgers down the stretch. And if you are unfamiliar with Wilson’s personality…

…he certainly is a character. 

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Los Angeles Dodgers: Matt Kemp ‘Disappointed’ in Ryan Braun After Suspension

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp had a stellar 2011 season.  He hit .324 with 39 home runs, 126 RBI and 40 stolen bases.  Along with winning the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards, Kemp was runner-up in the National League Most Valuable Player voting to Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, despite having more home runs, RBI and stolen bases. 

Yesterday, Major League Baseball announced the suspension of Ryan Braun for the remainder of the 2013 season for violation of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.  According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Kemp expressed his feelings on the situation.

Kemp’s disappointment is likely due to the fact that he was a strong supporter of Braun in 2012 when he tested positively for a banned substance.  He could have jumped on the opportunity to accuse Braun of cheating, but he supported and believed him.  At the time, Braun claimed he was an innocent victim of a flawed testing process and eventually saw his suspension overturned. 

Now that Braun has lost the integrity that he tried so hard to defend, Kemp feels slighted, and rightfully so. “I think it kind of takes away from guys who get in the gym, bust their butt and try to play this game clean,” Kemp said. 

Several outraged fans have taken to social networks to call for the 2011 NL MVP award to be given to Matt Kemp.  “My twitter is going nuts,” Kemp said.  “I never got so many tweets in my life.”  Though he may not want the award, he may be in favor of the league removing it from Braun. 

Regardless of whether any such action can or should actually be taken, it reminds us of what an incredible year 2011 was for the Dodgers’ star outfielder. 

This season, the Dodgers have surged into first place without Kemp’s services for much of the year.  Hamstring, shoulder and a recent ankle injury have derailed much of Kemp’s 2013 season, but if the Dodgers can see him return to his 2011 form, he can certainly help the playoff push.

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Los Angeles Dodgers: Yasiel Puig Deserves All-Star Consideration

Merriam-Webster defines all-star as “composed wholly or chiefly of stars or of outstanding performers or participants.”  On July 16, the stars and outstanding performers from the 30 Major League Baseball teams will assemble at Citi Field in New York to showcase their talents in a battle for World Series home-field advantage.  

Some believe this game should be simply for entertainment purposes: a showcase of the best talent in the league in a game that is meant to please the fans. Others are in favor of the added incentive of World Series home-field advantage as a way to keep the game competitive.  Regardless of the purpose for the game, Yasiel Puig deserves to be on the National League roster.

There are a number of very valid arguments against this idea:

“He has only played in 20 games”…”He has only had 80 at-bats”…”Who knows if this hot streak will last?”…”There are players who have played all season long who he would be playing over.”

None of these statements are wrong or out of line. The small sample size is certainly the main argument against Puig‘s participation in the Midsummer Classic. Even National League manager Bruce Bochy has been quoted as saying it would be a long shot.  But when assembling a roster of the best players in the game, the hype surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ young phenom can hardly be ignored.  

Through 20 games, Puig has a white-hot .442 batting average and 1.229 OBP to go along with seven home runs and 14 RBI. His stellar start at the plate is not the only area of his game that is drawing attention. Puig also has shown that he has a cannon for an arm with three outfield assists and several strong throws that make runners think twice before trying to take an extra base. In a recent interview with SiriusXM, Bochy was asked about Puig being on the All-Star roster. He said, “The numbers would have to be so stupid that you say, ‘Ok I’ll consider it.” I’m no expert, but Puig‘s numbers are quickly approaching “stupid”.  

The buzz surrounding Puig is reminiscent to that of the Washington Nationals‘ phenom, Bryce Harper, last year. Harper made the 2012 National League All-Star roster, albeit as an injury replacement, batting .282 with eight home runs and 25 RBI after 63 games. If he plays every game from now until the All-Star Game, Puig will have played in 39 games and could have better numbers than Harper did at this time last year.  

If you argue that the All-Star Game is all about entertainment, what has been more entertaining over the last few weeks than Puig-mania? If you think it should be about competition and putting the team in the best position to win, it would be hard to deny that Puig can do just that. I’m not saying he should start, but shouldn’t it at least be a consideration to have him on the team?

Perhaps it is too soon. Maybe it is a long shot and if he keeps this up he will certainly have plenty of other All-Star opportunities. It’s just not as far-fetched as many may think to say Yasiel Puig deserves a spot on the National League roster. And would a spot in the Home Run Derby be asking too much?

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