Notes: Teams honors Garvey
Former first baseman reflects on Dodgertown after tribute
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Steve Garvey has a right to be nostalgic. After all the springs he spent at Dodgertown, and all the hours he logged as a player and a friend, he'll miss this place as much as anyone. That reality hit him on Sunday, when, walking through the complex grounds, so many of his fondest memories returned.
"It's like anything where you've had a history at a certain place," he said. "You think back."
The Dodgers honored Garvey on Sunday in the second of their 14 tributes to legendary players, coaches, broadcasters and others with special ties to Dodgertown, also allowing their former MVP first baseman time to promote his new book, "My Bat Boy Days: Lessons I Learned From the Boys of Summer."
For Garvey, the afternoon was a return to the site and the team that had once become an intimate part of his life.
"I'm sad because these young players won't be able to experience what we did," Garvey said. "This is such a unique place, but such is life. Time marches on. Business changes."
His book is a collection of stories gleaned from his early days with the Dodgers, when he rubbed elbows with legends such as Gil Hodges and Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella. Those players knew Dodgertown as home, just as he once did.
Garvey said that what he'll miss most about Dodgertown is something that's already gone -- the unity between players who had bonded over years. Today, with free agency and the baseball market continuing to evolve, players don't stick around that long. Today's Dodgers simply aren't linked by the same intense bonds that yesterday's Dodgers enjoyed.
Still, Garvey holds hope for this current group of Dodgers, which includes enough young players to spark hope that those bonds might form once again.
"And I'd love to see that," Garvey said. "I'd be the violin instructor up in the balcony with a tear in my eye. You like to see history repeat itself."
Starting strong: As impressive as Derek Lowe's Spring Training debut was on Sunday, he couldn't spend too much time being pleased.
"It's hard to analyze two innings, it really is," Lowe said. "I'll pitch on Thursday, three more innings, and then after that you can start analyzing your starts a little more."
Still, Lowe was plenty satisfied with an outing that saw him allow just one hit to the Mets, while striking out two and walking none. The fact that the Mets didn't start a single regular player factored into his modest analysis, though his final stat line suited him just fine.
According to Lowe, he remains about on par with where he was at this time last year, and that's a good thing. He finished last season with 12 wins and a 3.88 ERA.
"I probably looked the same," Lowe said. "Maybe the hair was a little bit longer last year. The biggest thing about Spring Training, especially early, is you just want to command your pitches. They're not going to be 100 percent sharp."
What a relief: Dodgers manager Joe Torre said that although closer Takashi Saito won't make his spring debut quite yet, he should be ready to pitch again this week. Saito has been bothered by stiffness in his right quad, though Torre didn't consider the injury serious.
"For safety's sake, we're just going to shut him down for a couple of days," Torre said. "I don't think any more than that. Of course, you never really know until they start up doing their work again."
Fellow reliever Rudy Seanez, battling a mild groin pull, also won't see any action early in the week. He should miss approximately two days of work.
Dodgers bits: Torre held a long meeting on Sunday morning with owner Frank McCourt and general manager Ned Colletti regarding the state of the team. "It was just catching up," Torre said. "It's the first time I've seen them in the spring." ... Starter Jason Schmidt played catch on Sunday. The Dodgers don't expect Schmidt, recovering from shoulder surgery, to be ready for Opening Day. ... Sandy Koufax showed up at Dodgertown on Sunday to work with lefty reliever Greg Miller for the second time this spring. "The youngster seems to be very receptive," Torre said.
Coming up: Chad Billingsley makes his Grapefruit League debut on Monday in a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Orioles at Dodgertown. Also scheduled to pitch in the game are Miller and non-roster invitee Jason Johnson.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.