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DODGERS FYI

Dodgers owners' hopes go beyond Fall Classic to Winter Classic

With the Kings' playoff run stirring up hockey fever locally, Stan Kasten says Dodger Stadium could accommodate an NHL Winter Classic game.

May 23, 2012|By Bill Shaikin
  • Dodgers President Stan Kasten says he's looking into the possibility of Dodger Stadium playing host to the NHL Winter Classic at some point in the future.
Dodgers President Stan Kasten says he's looking into the possibility… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

PHOENIX — As hockey fever grips Los Angeles, Dodgers President Stan Kasten said he plans to explore whether the Kings could play in an NHL Winter Classic game at Dodger Stadium.

"Facility-wise, we could certainly handle it," Kasten said.

The NHL has yet to award its New Year's Day showcase to a warm-weather city. The Dodgers could offer baseball's largest stadium and the iconic backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Kasten, former president of the NHL Atlanta Thrashers, said technology would allow ice to remain playable for an outdoor hockey game at Dodger Stadium but said he was unsure if the league would be interested.

"They put a man on the moon," Dodgers Chairman Mark Walter said. "They can make it work."

In 1991, Wayne Gretzky and the Kings played an outdoor exhibition game in Las Vegas. The ice held up despite a game-time temperature of 85 degrees.

Trade talk

The Dodgers have the best record in the major leagues, even with four starters on the disabled list — outfielders Matt Kemp and Juan Rivera and infielders Mark Ellis and Juan Uribe. They won on Monday with a starting lineup that included one player from the opening-day lineup.

The success of the Dodgers' reserves and minor leaguers has not dissuaded General Manager Ned Colletti from seeking reinforcements in trade. As he did at the start of the season, Colletti said he would like to add a bat and an arm.

"We're always looking, no matter what the record," he said Wednesday. "We've checked in with a lot of teams. They know we're out there. They know who we like."

The trade market could be slow to develop. The addition of a second wild card may make teams less likely to declare themselves sellers. No team entered play Tuesday more than 81/2 games out of a playoff spot.

Subdued L.A. story

Manager Don Mattingly said he could understand that the Dodgers might not dominate L.A. sports right now, given the Kings' success and the playoff runs of the Lakers and Clippers.

"Even the Angels," Mattingly said. "They get a lot of attention just for struggling."

Lee mending

Zach Lee, the Dodgers' top prospect, has not pitched since May 12 because of tightness in his groin, minor league director DeJon Watson said. The Dodgers do not anticipate a lengthy rehabilitation, Watson said.

The Dodgers signed Lee to a club-record $5.25-million bonus in 2010. He is 2-2 in eight starts at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga this season, with a 2.95 earned-run average in the first four starts and a 7.58 ERA in the last four.

Short hops

Outfielder Andre Ethier did not start for the first time this season. Mattingly said he wanted to couple a rest day for Ethier with Thursday's day off. … Infielder Justin Sellers was scratched after reporting back tightness and leg numbness. He is scheduled for an MRI examination Thursday, Mattingly said

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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