LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers earlier this week signed right-handed pitcher Karch Kowalczyk, their 37th-round draft pick out of Valparaiso University, the No. 1119 pick overall.
Kowalczyk, 23, was 1-0 with 11 saves and a 1.59 ERA in 20 games as a fifth-year senior in 2014, with 23 strikeouts and eight walks in 22⅔ innings. He was 1-1 with 12 saves and a 1.73 ERA in 24 games as a junior in 2013, with 18 strikeouts and seven walks in 26 innings.
The Peru, Illinois native began his career at Valparaiso as an infielder before shifting to relief pitching as a sophomore.
The 6'1, 216-pound right-hander had Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss all of 2012, joining fellow 2014 Dodgers draftees Jeff Brigham (fourth round), Trevor Oaks (seventh round), Jeff Broussard (15th round) and Matt Jones (25th round) as veterans of the reconstructive elbow procedure.
Kowalczyk is the second player from Valparaiso drafted by the Dodgers, and the first in 46 years. The Dodgers took Richard Dorsch in the 42nd round in the Dodgers' legendary draft of 1968, a year that saw them secure Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Bill Buckner, Bobby Valentine, Joe Ferguson, Doyle Alexander and Tom Paciorek.
""It’s been a whirlwind," Kowalczyk told Jared Bell of the Illinois Valley News Tribune on Monday. "Talking to the (Dodgers) guy (Saturday), he said, ‘You’re going to be living in your bags because you’re one phone call from going across the country.’ I just have to be prepared and can’t get cemented into a certain area. I have to be aware and ready to do whatever. In college, you usually play summer ball somewhere so you’re always traveling, so I got a little taste of it, but this will be a whole new ballgame. I’m excited to get started on it."
It looks like Kowalczyk made it to Camelback Ranch in Arizona on Wednesday.
Checked in at the airport. Phoenix bound!— Karch Kowalczyk (@karchkowalczyk) June 11, 2014
Kowalczyk was signed by Dodgers scout Chet Sergo.