Reporting from Phoenix – When word trickled out of Nicaragua in November that Vicente Padilla was shot, his agent said the bullet only “grazed” his leg.
Some graze that was.
Pointing to a spot high on his right thigh, Padilla said, “It went in here.” Touching the back of his leg, he continued, “And it went out the other side.”
Padilla said the wound healed in about two weeks.
Padilla laughed several times as he recounted the incident, in which the pitcher was accidentally shot by a friend who was trying to fix his gun for him at a shooting range. But it was no laughing matter at the time.
“I was bleeding a lot,” Padilla said.
Padilla said he lost 1.5 liters of blood while his friend drove him to the hospital. He said he felt dizzy when he got there.
“We were far from the hospital,” he said.
Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said he was aware of the extent of Padilla’s injuries when he signed him to a one-year, $5.025-million contract last month.
“We waited until after hunting season to engage in serious discussions,” Colletti said.
Gagne open to pitching in minors
Eric Gagne said he would be open to accepting a minor league assignment if he doesn’t make the Dodgers’ opening-day roster. Gagne has a clause in his contract that would let him become a free agent if he isn’t in the majors.
“I was in the Can-Am League,” said Gagne, who spent last season in an independent league. “Triple A will be like the big leagues.”
Gagne is wearing the same uniform number, 38, that he wore in his previous stint with the Dodgers.
The number used to belong to Ramon Troncoso, who said he had no problem giving it up.
Troncoso recalled how Gagne took time during spring training in 2006 to speak to a group of minor league relievers, including him.
Troncoso said he was aware that the number used to be Gagne’s.
“I’m a fan of baseball,” said Troncoso, who is now wearing No. 67. “I remember when the Dodgers were leading after eight innings, Gagne would go in and it would be, ‘Game Over.’ He never blew a lead. I feel good giving it to him. He made the number what it is in Los Angeles.”
Blake goes beardless
Casey Blake, who was one of several position players to report early to camp, returned from his off-season home in Iowa without his trademark beard.
Why did he shave?
He had a poor duck-hunting season.
“I was so frustrated . . . I came home and shaved it,” Blake said.
Blake said he had had the beard since the middle of 2007.
“People say it makes me look younger, so maybe I want to renegotiate my contract,” he said.