Tired of waiting for opening day...
Before the Dodgers, behind three errors and eight walks issued, lost 6-3 to the Indians at Dodger Stadium, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com got reactions from Blake DeWitt and Charlie Haeger, upon winning their respective roster spots.
"I feel like a little kid," Haeger said. "I just feel happy. It's like a dream come true. I've been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time and it's finally here."
"I was pretty excited because I went from a real low to a real high," a grinning DeWitt said. "They played it off real good. I was not expecting it at all. Once they told me I couldn't even hardly laugh."
"It's good," DeWitt said. "I worked hard this offseason. I knew what I needed to improve in and I still know what I need to improve on. But I feel good where I'm at and I feel I can contribute to this team."
The guess here is that the decision for the final roster spot is between a sixth bench spot (Nick Green) or 12th pitcher (Russ Ortiz). Tonight, when discussing his reasoning for naming Haeger the fifth starter, manager Joe Torre said, "With the other pitchers that we still have in camp, the Ortizes, I’m comfortable, if need be, they can work out of the bullpen." Perhaps I'm reading too much into the quote, but using the plural form Ortizes stuck out to me.
Some notes from tonight's game:
- Haeger showed us the highs and lows of the knuckleball, as he threw 100 pitches, just 52 for strikes, while walking six hitters in his five innings of work. However, he also struck out four hitters and allowed just two hits, one of which was a solo home run by Grady Sizemore for the only run charged to Haeger. Haeger told Josh Suchon on the KABC postgame show that the movement on his knuckleball was good, but the command was lacking, calling his six walks "unacceptable."
Russell Martin caught six innings for the second straight day, and went hitless in two at-bats. Torre said Martin would catch tomorrow and be the designated hitter Saturday, noting that he needs at-bats
- Ramon Ortiz pitched another scoreless inning, running his spring ERA to 1.02 in 17 2/3 innings
- George Sherrill, who has been working on his delivery for the better part of a week, struggled in his return to the mound. He allowed a double, a single, and a walk among his five batters faced, allowing a pair of runs. The first run scored on a fluke play: with Tim Fedroff on second base in the seventh inning, Sherrill threw a wild pitch that died when it hit the backstop. Catcher Brad Ausmus had no idea where the ball was, and Fedroff scored all the way from second base. On the spring, Sherrill has seven walks against four strikeouts. Hopefully Sherrill, who told Vincent Bonsignore of the LA Daily News last week that he hated spring training, can find his control once the regular season bell rings Monday. "Sherrill's still searching for that comfort zone," Torre said, "I'm not concerned about it, there's nothing physically wrong with him."
- Ramon Troncoso induced what probably should have been three straight outs in the eighth inning, but two errors -- including a bad throw by DeWitt on a potential double play -- and a hit that should have been an error prolonged the inning. Still, Troncoso allowed a walk and two singles after the miscues, completing the three-run inning that provided the winning margin for Cleveland.
- Both God Bless America (seventh inning stretch) and Don't Stop Believin' (mid 8th inning) were played at Dodger Stadium tonight.
- Tomorrow night's game in Anaheim will be the first game Garret Anderson has ever played against the Angels, and marks his first return to the stadium he called home for 15 seasons. Torre said Anderson will play left field Friday night, and Manny Ramirez would be the DH. Clayton Kershaw and Ervin Santana are tomorrow's scheduled starters.
- Torre added, "Saturday we'll probably play some of the younger guys" for the Dodgers' final exhibition game before heading to Pittsburgh after the game.