Stephen Nelson to serve as Joe Davis' primary fill-in on Dodgers broadcasts
The Dodgers added another voice to their television broadcast team, hiring Stephen Nelson of MLB Network to call more than 50 games for the upcoming season.
Nelson, a 33-year-old Southern California native with experience calling both MLB and NHL games in addition to other sports TV work, will essentially back up lead play-by-play voice Joe Davis on the club's SportsNet LA broadcast package.
Davis has been the Dodgers’ primary voice since succeeding Vin Scully in 2017. However, his other obligations with Fox Sports — he is the network’s lead play-by-play broadcaster for MLB and the World Series, and also serves on one of its top NFL broadcast crews — have forced him to significantly cut back his schedule of Dodger games in recent years, a trend that will continue in 2023.
Nelson will step in to fill that void, joining an SNLA broadcast team that will also feature Orel Hershiser, Nomar Garciaparra, Eric Karros, Jessica Mendoza, Dontrelle Willis and Tim Neverett (who filled in for Davis for much of last season but also has responsibilites on the radio side).
Like last season, the Dodgers are expected to rotate their color analysts through the booth over the course of the year.
A graduate of Marina High in Huntington Beach and Chapman University in Orange, Nelson was a college intern for KTLA and Fox Sports West before beginning his TV career at a local station in Oregon.
He was hired by Bleacher Report in 2014, where he covered various sports as a host and broadcaster.
In 2018, Nelson went to work at the jointly-operated MLB and NHL Networks, where he called games for both leagues while also taking over as co-host of MLB Network’s long-running “Intentional Talk” show alongside Kevin Millar.
Nelson has also done work for NBC Sports, YouTube and Apple TV+, serving as a play-by-play voice for the latter’s nationwide MLB package last season.
"It's impossible to convey the emotions that come with this opportunity,” Nelson said in a news release about joining the Dodgers. “This isn't simply coming home. This isn't simply being an announcer for a professional sports team. This is The Los Angeles Dodgers. It's the best organization in baseball for so many reasons and I can't wait to be a tiny part of it and its best-in-class production team.”
Please join us in welcoming @StephenNelson to the Dodger family! pic.twitter.com/Wjel2TbZgm
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) January 20, 2023
Nelson, who is Japanese American, is set to become the only Asian American play-by-play announcer working for a MLB team, according to the Dodgers.
“We are thrilled to be adding such a dynamic personality in Stephen,” Dodgers chief marketing officer Lon Rosen said in the club’s release, “and think he will fit in seamlessly with our incredibly talented broadcast team.”
Dodgers re-hire Chris Woodward
The Dodgers are hiring former Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward to a role in the front office, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation who weren’t authorized to speak publicly since the move hasn’t been officially announced.
The hiring will mark a reunion between the Dodgers and Woodward, who served as the club’s third base coach from 2016-18 before spending the last four seasons with the Rangers.
Woodward was fired by Texas in August after compiling a 211-287 record in four seasons there.
Now back with the Dodgers, the 46-year-old Covina native is expected to serve as a special assistant in the front office, and will also do some occasional roving instructional work throughout the organization on the minor league side.
A former infielder who played for five teams over 12 MLB seasons, Woodward began his post-playing career in the Seattle Mariners organization before joining the Dodgers ahead of the 2016 campaign.
During his first stint in Los Angeles, he was praised for his ability to connect with players, and was particularly influential in helping Chris Taylor flourish after previously crossing paths with him in the Mariners organization.
This time, Woodward won’t have a role on the field — the only change to the Dodgers’ coaching staff this offseason was promoting Aaron Bates from assistant to co-hitting coach upon Brant Brown’s departure to the Miami Marlins — but should find a familiar home back in the organization, where both he and the club are hoping to rekindle their connection after four years apart.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.