PHOENIX — Russell Martin is a believer. So are Manny Ramirez and James Loney.
Trainer Stan Conte said that if he had tried to implement something like this into a team's workout program a decade ago, he would have been laughed out of the clubhouse.
But, Conte said, "I think yoga is mainstream now."
At the insistence of strength and conditioning coach Brendon Huttmann, the Dodgers added a yoga program to their spring training workouts this year as a way to prevent injuries.
Because the first couple of weekly sessions had substantial turnouts -- Conte estimated that 20 to 25 of the players invited to camp participated -- the Dodgers asked their yoga instructor to start showing up twice a week. The club also started a yoga program in the minor league camp.
Martin said he first tried yoga when he worked out with then-Dodgers closer Eric Gagne in the winter leading up to the 2005 season. Martin re-integrated yoga into his off-season workout regimen this year.
"Yoga and baseball, they go hand-in-hand," Martin said.
Martin credits the workouts for improving his flexibility and balance. He said they've also helped him better control his breathing and, by extension, his emotions. "It's the only workout you do that relates your mind and body together," he said.
All-Star game to L.A.?
While acknowledging that the Dodgers are making a push to host an All-Star game in the relatively near future, Commissioner Bud Selig noted that there are a number of teams with recently built ballparks waiting in line to do so.
Selig was in Phoenix on Friday to award the 2011 All-Star game to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Angels are hosting the event in 2010.
Of the Dodgers, Selig said, "They haven't had the All-Star game since 1980. They are a very viable candidate for an All-Star game, but so are a significant number of others."
Dodger Stadium's age won't be held against the team in its bid for an All-Star game because, Selig said, "They're spending a lot of money. I think [owners Frank and Jamie McCourt] have done a remarkable job."
However, the Dodgers postponed the scheduled renovations of the stadium's clubhouses and loge level.
Selig made clear that the Dodgers won't be hosting the event when they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of Dodger Stadium in 2012.
"That's an American League year," Selig said. "I think that's only fair."
Because the outcome of the All-Star game determines home-field advantage in the World Series, Selig said it's important that baseball continue to alternate between NL and AL ballparks every year.
Juan Pierre will start for the first time this season today and will be in center field. Pierre will replace Matt Kemp.
Jason Schmidt and Claudio Vargas, who are in extended spring training at Camelback Ranch on rehabilitation assignments, dropped by the Dodgers' clubhouse. Schmidt is temporarily shut down with a tired arm. Vargas, who is on the 60-day disabled list because of an elbow injury, is treating tendinitis in his elbow. The Dodgers are hoping Vargas can get healthy this month so they can send him out to pitch in minor league games in May. Vargas has a provision in his contract that prevents him from collecting incentive pay if he's sidelined because of an elbow injury, but he said he wasn't concerned about the lost pay. "I came here with the plan to pitch," he said. "Not everything is money."
Time: 1 p.m.
Where: Chase Field, Phoenix.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 790, 930, 610.
Pitchers: Randy Wolf vs. Dan Haren.
Update: Wolf's second go-round with the Dodgers didn't start particularly well, as he gave up four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings in San Diego on Tuesday. Wolf is 4-1 with a 3.90 earned-run average in five career starts at Chase Field. He pitched in Arizona last April and won despite giving up four runs in 6 1/3 innings. Haren pitched well in defeat in his first start of the season, holding Colorado to one run and three hits over seven innings. He struck out nine and walked none.
-- Dylan Hernandez