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Dodgers don't make friends in Australia

SYDNEY, Australia — Even on the other side of the world, the Dodgers are the villains.

The buildup to their season openers against the Diamondbacks (4 a.m. today and 10 tonight, MLB Network) is reminiscent of last season's NLCS against the Cardinals, when their wealth and perceived arrogance made them the bad guys.

The narrative was set last month, when pitcher Zack Greinke said he had "zero excitement" about traveling to Australia. Rightfielder Andre Ethier didn't help this week by sarcastically reciting the company line. Without a trace of a smile, he said in a hostile tone: "Glad to be here. Fun trip. This is a good time. Great for baseball. Good for Australia. Happy to be here, guys."

Diamondbacks officials have rejoiced in the Dodgers' media misadventures, believing it could help the team gain overseas followers. Team president Derrick Hall said he wanted his team to visit the country on a regular basis.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the public reaction is to be expected when a team has a $250 million payroll.

"In general, people would rather see the underdog kind of do better than the team that is spoiled," he said. "No matter how good guys these guys are and how much they do in the community and everything they do, all the charity stuff, you're still going to get the guy in the stands who's got something to say about your team."

More Dodgers: Righty Josh Beckett (bruised thumb), centerfielder Matt Kemp (ankle surgery) and righty Chad Billingsley (elbow surgery) went on the DL. They also will miss the three games against the Padres starting March 30. Rightfielder Carl Crawford went on paternity leave but can play against San Diego.

Indians, Masterson won't talk extension

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Cleveland and ace Justin Masterson suspended talks on a contract extension. General manager Chris Antonetti said the club made a "very competitive" offer but the sides couldn't find common ground. "At this point, we both agreed to table discussions … and potentially revisit it down the road," Antonetti said. "But right now, the focus will be on preparing for the season." Masterson can become a free agent after the season.

More Indians: Catcher Matt Treanor will be out 2-3 weeks with a strained left hamstring.

Angels: Reliever Sean Burnett's bullpen session was cut short by stiffness in his left shoulder. The team said it was not related to the left shoulder injury that cut short last year.

Astros: Mark Appel, the first overall pick in June, pitched in a game for the first time, throwing 37 pitches against Tigers minor-leaguers. He has been sidelined by an appendectomy and will start the season at Class A or Double A.

Mets: First baseman Lucas Duda returned from an 18-day absence due to a hamstring issue and homered.

Rangers: Ace Yu Darvish was scratched from a minor-league start because of a stiff neck but said he expects to be ready to start on opening day.

Royals: Righty Yordano Ventura, 22, was named the fifth starter.

Reds: Manager Bryan Price said he doesn't expect righty Mat Latos to be ready for the start of the season. He had surgery to repair cartilage in his left knee Feb. 14. Price said it's reasonable to assume Alfredo Simon, last a starter in 2011, will go into the rotation.

Tigers: With starting shortstop Jose Iglesias out indefinitely with stress fractures in both legs, Andrew Romine was acquired from the Angels for lefty Jose Alvarez. Romine, 28, played 47 games last season and likely will platoon with Hernan Perez or Danny Worth. Alvarez, 24, split last season between Detroit and Triple-A Toledo. Meanwhile, righty Bruce Rondon, expected to be the set-up man, was diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right elbow and will miss the season.

Twins: Righty Vance Worley, last year's opening day starter, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple A.

National League

TODAY

2013

Los Angeles Ryu (L) 10:00. 14-8 3.00

Arizona Cahill (R) p.m. 8-10 3.99

Dodgers don't make friends in Australia 03/21/14 [Last modified: Saturday, March 22, 2014 12:31am]
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