A day after addressing the need for a quarterback in his inherited recruiting class with junior college transfer Tanner McEvoy, new Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen reeled in another commitment from a JUCO player to address needs in the secondary.Needing to replace three starting defensive backs from last season’s team with just safety Dezmen Southward returning, Andersen took the first step toward replenishing the depleted positional group by securing a verbal commitment from safety and JUCO All-American Donnell Vercher of Fresno (Calif.) City College.Vercher, a three-star recruit according to ESPN.com, will be the first player from Fresno City College to play at a Big Ten school since wide receiver Arsenio Curry signed with Purdue in 2008.The 6-foot-2 and 195-pound safety had 23 tackles and eight interceptions this past season for the Rams, helping to lead the team to a 8-3 record in 2012 and a tie for first place atop the Northern California Valley conference. In 2011 Vercher recorded three interceptions and 29 tackles.Andersen and his defensive coordinator Dave Aranda recruited Vercher during their time at Utah State. Vercher chose Wisconsin over Fresno State, where he was once a soft verbal-commit, and Syracuse.The commitment adds security to a Badgers recruiting class that is severely lacking at safety. Vercher remains the lone safety commit in the 2013 recruiting class. Wisconsin adds more depth to their secondary with two cornerback recruits in Keelon Brooking, a three-star recruit and the No. 76 cornerback in the nation and Sojourn Shelton, a four-star recruit and the No. 27 cornerback in the nation.Both Brooking and Shelton have already enrolled at Wisconsin for the spring semester.Andersen and the Badgers also continue to target Marcus Ball, the brother of Wisconsin’s offensive lineman Ray Ball and the No. 67 athlete in the nation, according to ESPN.com. Ball was initially a solid verbal-commit to the Badgers but wavered after the departure of former head coach Bret Bielema. A starting quarterback and safety for Westerville South High School in Ohio, Ball will decide between Wisconsin and Arizona State on Signing Day.
“The velocity started getting better as he went through the outing,” Roberts said.“It’s just command and execution. I think that’s more important than velocity for Clayton because his pitch mix – if he can execute, sequence, I see no reason why he can’t continue to be that elite pitcher. … Again, for me, the main thing for Clayton is not velocity. It’s the execution.”LEFT OUTRockies left-hander Tyler Anderson was the fourth consecutive left-hander to start against the Dodgers when he took the mound Friday. Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson has not been in the starting lineup for any of the four games.“You look at kind of the way the starters have been thrown at us, it’s not ideal,” Roberts said. “So you have to kind of adapt. Ideally, I would like to have distributed the at-bats better for every player but that’s impossible. Somebody is going to have to be compromised.”Related Articles How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Roberts has started Cody Bellinger against all four left-handers and Max Muncy against two of the four consecutive lefties. But both Bellinger and Muncy have had stretches of success against left-handed pitching in their past. Pederson has a career average of .181 and a .581 OPS in 326 career plate appearances against left-handed pitchers at the major-league level.Roberts said Pederson will be back in the starting lineup Saturday and Sunday when the Rockies start right-handers Jon Gray and Chad Bettis.ALSOLeft-hander Rich Hill is scheduled to test his injured left knee by throwing a bullpen session before Saturday’s game. Hill will throw approximately 20 pitches. It will be his first time throwing off a mound since spraining the medial collateral ligament in his knee. …The Milwaukee Brewers claimed left-hander Donnie Hart off waivers from the Dodgers. The Dodgers claimed Hart off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles in early March, waiving right-hander Josh Fields to make room on the 40-man roster. The Brewers also signed Fields after he cleared waivers.UP NEXTDodgers (RHP Walker Buehler, 0-0, 15.00 ERA) at Rockies (RHP Jon Gray, 0-1, 4.05 ERA), Saturday, 5:10 p.m., SportsNet LA (where available), 570 AM Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Kershaw threw 61 pitches Thursday in OKC and would probably move his pitch count into the 75-80 range with another start next week.Kershaw said he did not seek any feedback on his velocity or spin rate during Thursday’s outing, focusing instead on how he felt physically.“Yesterday I was just making sure I was healthy,” he said. “That was great. I felt good about it. Now I’ll hone in on the stuff, make sure everything’s where I want it to be and be ready to go.”Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the reports he saw indicated Kershaw’s fastball sat in the 88-91 mph range for most of the outing – “a tick up” from where it was during the bullpen sessions and sim games Kershaw has thrown since re-starting his throwing program following shoulder problems this spring.That would be right in line with the career-low 90.9 mph Kershaw averaged on his fastball last season. He vowed to regain some velocity heading into the offseason but has backed off on that. Roberts said he expects there will be more velocity when Kershaw is dealing with the intensity of a big-league game. Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season DENVER — Clayton Kershaw arrived in the visiting clubhouse at Coors Field, equipment bag in tow, Friday morning. He might not be staying for long.Kershaw called his 4-1/3-inning rehab start at Triple-A Oklahoma City Thursday night “a good first step” and acknowledged that a second rehab start (most likely with the OKC Dodgers again) will be necessary.“Probably another (rehab) start,” Kershaw said of the next step. “Probably the biggest thing is just the way the season started, probably can’t have shorter outings because our bullpen is going to be taxed with guys going shorter already. Definitely don’t want to do that.“I’d love to be able to throw 100 pitches when I come back. We’ll see what happens.” Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error