Brandon League to pitch minor league game Friday, maybe Saturday too

Christian Petersen

League threw a bullpen session and will pitch in a minor league game today, and possibly Saturday as well.

GLENDALE -- Dodgers pitcher Brandon League has struggled in his three Cactus League outings so far, as he did for most of last season. But the reliever says he is healthy and progressing as he would during any normal spring training.

"I have no worries about being ready for Australia," League said Friday. "It's not my first short spring."

But this isn't any normal spring for the Dodgers. Their truncated 21-game, 19-day Cactus League schedule ends Sunday, followed by a 16-hour flight to Australia. League had a similar experience two years ago with the Mariners.

In 2012 the Mariners and Athletics played two regular season games in Tokyo on March 28-29, including one saved by League, then returned to Arizona for four more spring training games before beginning the domestic regular season on April 6.

This year the Dodgers and Diamondbacks play two regular season games in Sydney on March 22-23, then go to Los Angeles for three Freeway Series games against the Angels before beginning the regular season on March 30.

"It was a little weird having to wake up at a certain time when you're supposed to try to get used to the time zone again," League said. "It's good to get back to LA and be in a more controlled environment and not have to go into spring training mode again."

So far this spring League has pitched in three games, and allowed five runs in 2⅔ innings. He has retired just eight of his 16 batters faced. But he said it's all just part of the process.

"I don't ever look at spring training numbers. I don't ever look at spring training stats," League said. "I feel pretty good knowing where the ball is going to go and what it's going to do. My off speed is not exactly where I want it, but it's where it's supposed to be this time of the year."

League pitched against the A's on Monday, threw a bullpen session on Wednesday, and will throw in a minor league intrasquad game on Friday. As most relievers are pitching on back-to-back days this weekend, League might throw again on Saturday, likely again in a minor league game.

"He's been working on some things on video, and really wanting that to take effect. To me it's the reason for the minor league games. It's so much better when you're trying to do that work and trying to get something to kind of fall into the slots," manager Don Mattingly said. "When you get back on the field with the fans out there, it kind of changes the whole thing. This is a way to be able to work on something and keep progressing without having to get into a game situation.

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