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Chin-hui Tsao continues to impress for Dodgers

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Photo: Jon SooHoo | LA Dodgers

PEORIA, Ariz. -- One of the most impressive arms in Dodgers camp this spring isn't technically in big league camp. Chin-hui Tsao retired all five batters he faced in relief against the Mariners on Sunday, continuing to open eyes.

"He gives me a lot of options to play with, whether it's backdoor breaking balls, cutters inside, fastballs up," said catcher Yasmani Grandal. "He can bring it too. I didn't know he could bring it that hard. He did a great job today."

Tsao, 33, last pitched professionally in 2009, serving a ban for fixing games in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, though he was acquitted of all charges. After getting approval from MLB, the Dodgers signed Tsao to a minor league contract this offseason.

He pitched for the Dodgers in 2007, his last time in the majors.

"I'm very happy," Tsao said. "It's exciting to pitch in the game again."

His contract didn't include an invitation to big league camp, but Tsao has pitched in two Cactus League games so far and has yet to allow anyone to reach base. He has faced 12 hitters and recorded 13 outs, including five by strikeout.

Tsao, wearing a nameless No. 91 jersey, relieved Clayton Kershaw in the fourth inning on Sunday, and finished the inning quickly with a popout and groundout. He was left in the game to pitch the fifth and retired the top of the Mariners' lineup in order.

"He has pitched good. His stuff is good," manager Don Mattingly said. "We left him in there to get a shot at Cano and those guys, and really looked good. I would say, he's been interesting to watch."

Tsao punctuated his outing with strikeouts of Justin Ruggiano and Robinson Cano.

"With him it just seemed like he knew what he wanted to do out there," Grandal said of Tsao.