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Matt Davidson trying to add pitching to his bag of tricks

Corner infielder has pitched in six major league games in his career.

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Matt Davidson-Los Angeles Dodgers vs Oakland AthleticsSunday, February 28, 2021 at Hohokam Park in Mesa, Arizona. The Dodgers beat the A’s 2-1
Photo credit: Jon SooHoo | LA Dodgers

Matt Davidson signed with the Dodgers as a non-roster invitee to camp, and won the team’s Cactus League opener with a home run. But when asked about Davidson after Sunday’s game, manager Dave Roberts mentioned, unprompted, that Davidson also recently threw a bullpen session and could be used as a pitcher this spring.

Wait, what?

Davidson, primarily a corner infielder, has also pitched in six major league games — in 2018 and 2020 — putting up a 2.84 ERA. But those appearances all came in blowouts, and Roberts noted that there are several steps in the process before Davidson might be used in a game. But were he to make the big league roster, having a bench player with power — Davidson hit 46 home runs in 2017-18 — who could also eat some innings in blowouts in a year of 26-man rosters instead of 28-man rosters like last year, could prove useful.

“For a plus or minus situation, to save an arm has a lot of value,” Roberts said Sunday.

Signed to a minor league contract, Davidson on Monday confirmed he has opt-out clauses in his contract should the Dodgers not add him to the major league roster, though did not specify those dates.

He also had an interesting way to describe his potential as a two-way player.

“One of my tools is pitching. I would say I’m not much of a runner, but I could pitch, so we’ll see kind of where it goes,” he said. “I feel like I can compete on the mound, and I’m really excited to be here with the organization, and all the information and technology they have on the pitching side.”

From Brooks Baseball, Davidson had an 89.9 mph average velocity on his four-seam fastball in 2018, and 82.5 mph in 2020, totaling 65 fastballs over those two seasons. He also threw a curveball 20 percent of the time. Davidson on Monday said with the White Sox in 2018 he threw as hard as 92 mph, but outside of bullpen sessions he has never been on a throwing program or used weighted balls like the Dodgers preach.

“The staff here is unbelievable, and I’m just trying to get as much little things as I can, and apply it to myself,” Davidson said.