Tag: Charlie Haeger

Just a Tease: Charlie Haeger Designated For Assignment By L.A. Dodgers

It’s finally over for right handed knuckleballer Charlie Haeger. The Dodgers designated Haeger for assignment on Friday, effectively ending Haeger’s days as a Dodger.

The 26-year-old holds a 1-5 record as a Dodger while allowing 35 earned runs in just 30 innings pitched.

Haeger never really got on track in two abbreviated seasons for L.A., and spent several days on the DL in two separate stints with Planter Fasciitis in 2010. During both minor league rehabs, Haeger was impressive and earned a promotion back to the major league roster. 

However, following his second activation from the DL, Haeger was pulled one out away from qualifying for a win with a four run lead. The surprise move raised eyebrows and confused the knuckleballer. Less than 24 hours later, he was DFA’d.

The Dodgers now have ten days to trade Haeger, release him, or after clearing waivers, assign him to Triple-A Albuquerque. 

It is not likely Haeger will garner much attention on the trade market. However, he is young and has plenty of time to perfect the dancing pitch that is so rare in baseball. 

With Vicente Padilla resuming his spot in the rotation, and Chad Billingsley on the disabled list, the Dodgers have four set starters: Clayton Kershaw, Vicente Padilla, Hiroki Kuroda and John Ely. 

Expect relievers such as Jeff Weaver and Carlos Monasterios to make spot starts during Billingsley’s rehab. Once Billingsley returns, Ely will most likely continue filling the fifth starter position.

To fill the newly vacated roster spot, the Dodgers have called up reliever Jon Link, one of two pitchers (John Ely) acquired in the trade that sent Juan Pierre to the White Sox.

The call-up is Link’s fourth already this season, but he has a combined 4.1 innings pitched in four games. 

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Los Angeles Dodgers Injury Update 6/6/10

Just over a third of the way through the 2010 season, it is overly apparent: The Dodgers have been hit hard by injuries straight out of the gate.

However, hope is on the horizon. A perpetually depleted bullpen is starting to rebound from injuries to its main characters. Hong-Chih Kuo is beginning to find his form that enabled him to have success in his 2009 campaign.

Jeff Weaver, the Dodgers veteran righty out of the ‘pen has been heckled by numerous health issues all season. However, it appears as though his recent soreness will not force him to the disabled list.

George Sherrill is recovering nicely from a back strain that forced him to the 15-day disabled list on May 24. The set-up man made his first rehab start June 1, and reports were promising. Following more work on Saturday, in which Sherrill pitched a scoreless two-thirds of an inning for Triple-A Albuquerque, the lefty is on pace to return shortly.

Cory Wade is set to start his minor league rehabilitation in the upcoming week, and may make his season debut in the month of June.

Vicente Padilla is scheduled to return on June 18, just in time to start against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. His return will necessitate a decision for Joe Torre. The skipper will have to decide between two young arms.

Charlie Haeger is coming off the DL following a rehab to firm up the healing process on the turf toe that has hindered his delivery over the last month.

Haeger’s competition for the final spot in the starting rotation is fierce. Rookie John Ely has made a strong campaign to remain on the roster. His 2.54 ERA and .208 opponents’ BA would be difficult to dismiss, especially considering Haeger has struggled all season.

Ely has also shown he has the ability to go deep in to games, which had been Haeger’s number one attribute. A rubber arm will certainly be welcomed during a time of inconsistency healthwise on the Dodgers’ 25-man roster.

There is still no estimated time of return for Russell Martin’s veteran back-up, Brad Ausmus. The 41-year-old catcher is still on the 60-day disabled list following April surgery on a pinched nerve in his lower back. Although Ausmus is able to walk around and even play a little toss, his back still tightens up on occasion and there’s no reason to chance it given A.J. Ellis’ youth and versatility.

Finally, the Dodgers will decide the immediate future for starting third baseman Casey Blake. While fielding pre-game ground balls on Thursday, Blake felt pain in his lower back, and was immediately removed from the line-up. He will be evaluated on Sunday, after an MRI showed perplexing and inconclusive results.

If Blake lands on the DL, expect veterans Jamey Carroll and Ronnie Belliard to pick up the slack, and see increased playing time. Blake DeWitt will have to find an offensive groove; he will be called upon to be the every day second baseman in Blake’s absence.

For further updates, fans can catch the Dodgers versus the Braves, with a marquee pitching match-up (John Ely 3-2, 2.54 ERA vs. Tim Hudson 6-1, 2.30 ERA) set for 1:10 PT at Dodger Stadium.

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Pre-Game Warm-Ups Hurting The Los Angeles Dodgers…Literally

Maybe the starting line-up should just take a nap before games.

On Wednesday night, pre-game warm-ups claimed another Dodger victim, just minutes before the first pitch against the San Diego Padres.

Manny Ramirez was warming up his aging legs, performing an exercise he does every day before the game begins. The left fielder was swinging his legs in the recreational room, attempting to stretch out his hamstring, when he got too close to a table and struck it with his foot.

Already down their star right fielder, due to another freak pre-game mishap, the Dodgers took no chances and removed Manny from the starting line-up. With two outfielders out and a reliever on the mound to start the game, the Blue Crew finally relinquished their nine-game winning streak to the Padres, losing 10-5.

Manny’s injury didn’t appear to be serious, as he pinch-hit later in the game. However, the incident comes less than a week after right fielder Andre Ethier broke the pinky finger on his right hand during pre-game batting practice. Ethier is on the 15-day disabled list, and is sporting a splint on the injured finger.

The Dodgers can ill-afford another injury, already missing several starters due to injury. There has been no updates regarding Rafael Furcal’s return from the disabled list with a sore hamstring. He was eligible to return from the 15-day DL last weekend against the Padres, but team doctors and manager Joe Torre felt he was not ready after complaints from Furcal of continued discomfort.

Starting pitchers Vicente Padilla and Charlie Haeger are still out. Padilla has elbow soreness and isn’t due back until early June. Haeger suffers from Plantar fasciitis in his right foot and finished up rehab last week. Plantar fasciitis is a condition in the arch of the foot that causes sudden and immense pain, making it difficult to walk or even stand. Haeger should return soon, but will need to find a groove as he is still struggling.

Cory Wade has yet to see game action this season, and his return is expected some time in June.

Finally, Brad Ausmus is on the 60-day disabled list with a pinched nerve in his lower back. The veteran catcher had surgery on April 28th, but there is no time table for his return. He appeared to be moving slowly and gingerly, walking around the Dodgers’ dugout during pre-game in San Diego.

The current Dodgers success is a welcomed sign for concerned fans, but starting games with more than half of the line-up comprised of reserves will eventually take its toll on the win-loss column. There could be new faces in the clubhouse as the All-Star break nears.


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The Dodgers Are Missing Jon Garland

On May 12, 2010, the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated their first sweep of the season, defeating the Arizona Diamondback in a three-game series.

With the help of six consecutive losses from the stumbling D’backs, coupled with a four-game winning streak of their own, the Dodgers have climbed out of the bottom of the National League West.

The last three games against the D’backs have showcased a potent Dodgers offense headlined by a healthy Manny Ramirez and Andre Ethier, NL Leader in all Triple Crown categories. 

Considering the recent Dodgers surge some may be even convinced that their slow start to the season was just a minor aberration for a team destined to take the NL West for a third consecutive year.

However, their offensive successes have only managed to temporarily mask their blatant weakness in starting pitching. With only three starters healthy from last season, forty percent of their pitching rotation remain in flux.

Charlie Haeger (0-4, 8.49 ERA), the team’s 5th starter, imploded in his May 8 appearance against the Colorado Rockies allowing five runs before getting an out and promptly getting the hook.  He is now trying recover from a broken psyche (correction bruised heel) on the 15-day disabled list.

Vicente Padilla, the Dodgers’ opening day starter is (1-1, 6.65 ERA) this season and has been on the DL since April 24, is not expected to return until June. 

Rookie John Ely (1-1, 3.86 ERA) has been a pleasant surprise in three starts but it’s still too soon to see if he can be consistent. 

Rule-5 draftee Carlos Monasterios provided the team with a decent effort in a spot start (4.0 IP, 1 ER, 73 pitches) although the team believes he is better suited to pitch out of the bullpen. 

Putting further emphasis on the Dodgers’ need for starting pitching, 36-year-old Ramon Ortiz with a 5.16 ERA out of the bullpen is slated to make his first start over the weekend against the Padres.  Ortiz will be the 8th different Dodgers starting pitcher this season. 

The deficiencies in the starting rotation have been exposed this season.  Rumors swirling out of Los Angeles is that the Dodgers are trying to acquire a starter via trade.

It could have all been avoided if the Dodgers had simply brought back Jon Garland.

Fact is, the Dodgers overestimated the availability of starting pitching this past winter.  

Looking to trim payroll during the off-seasonthe team elected to buyout the last year of Garland’s $10 million contract for $2.5 million.  They also opted not to re-sign Randy Wolf who went on to sign a three-year contract totalling nearly $30 million with the Milwaukee Brewers.

With $7.5 million in net savings from the Garland buyout they chose to re-sign the enigmatic 32-year old Vicente Padilla to a $5 million contract. 

Had the Dodgers not re-signed Padilla and picked up Garland’s $10 million option instead, it would have only required an extra $2.5 million commitment from the team. 

In retrospect, retaining Garland who is two years younger than Padilla, at an additional cost of $2.5 million is a small to price to pay for a proven veteran pitcher that can help solidify the starting rotation.

Garland v. Padilla

Since becoming a starter in 2002, Garland has started at least 32 games over the last eight seasons.  He has won 18 games twice with the White Sox and 14 games once with the Angels.

On the other hand, the last time Padilla started at least 32 games was in 2006 when won a career best 15 games in 33 starts.  Over the last two years he has served four stints on the DL. 

And who can forget the much publicized fallout with the Rangers organization?  When he was designated for assignment late last season, a move which Rangers management said was the result of his behavior on and off the field. 

Where is Garland Now?

Now pitching for the Padres, Garland (4-2, 1.71 ERA) has found a home in San Diego.

Despite being offered a more lucrative contract by the Washington Nationals, Garland chose to stay in Southern California, close to his Valencia home. 

Moreover, he recognized that playing half of his games in the confines of pitcher-friendly Petco Park would be beneficial to his career. 

As a Dodger in 2009, Garland went 3-2 with a 2.73 ERA in six starts. 

At the time, the Dodgers could not justify investing $10 million on a number 4 or 5 starter.  But the reality–is buying him out and finding someone else to replace his consistent production will probably cost the Dodgers more money had they just kept him.

If the Padres go on to win the NL West, this mistake could haunt the Dodgers for a very long time.


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Five Keys To the L.A. Dodgers’ Success Against the NL West

The Los Angeles Dodgers are approaching a pivotal stretch in the 2010 season. The next 11 out of 17 games the team will play will be against division opponents. Fewer and fewer anaylists and experts are calling the season “young” as Major League Baseball is nearly 30 games in, with several surprises including the Boys in Blue.

The San Diego Padres are currently half a game back of the San Francisco Giants for the division lead while most had predicted the Colorado Rockies and the Dodgers to get off to the best start.

Look no further than re-tooled pitching for the Giants marking early successes while the Dodgers have been constantly hindered by injuries to key starters and pitching.

However, the next two weeks will undoubtedly mark change for L.A. Key players will be coming off the disabled list and will need to have an immediate impact in their returns. The corresponding roster moves will bring fresh faces to the mix while some exit to await another call.

If the defending National League West Champions want to prove they can defend their crown, the next couple weeks would be a glaring opportunity.

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Rookies Rise, ERAs Drop For The Los Angeles Dodgers

Some unfamiliar faces have been spotted around the Los Angeles Dodgers dugout lately, but suddenly the number in the “W” column is going up. Meanwhile, the pitching has stepped it up with the return of some familiar faces and the infusion of some new ones.

Pop Quiz: Who has the lowest ERA on the Dodgers’ roster? If you said Carlos Monasterios, you’d be wrong. It’s actually Jonathan Broxton. In nine games or 8.2 innings, Broxton has allowed just four hits and no runs while striking out 14 and walking only one. Tough to compete with that, but Monasterios isn’t far off. In his 14.2 innings, Monasterios is sporting a 1.84 ERA and has filled in marvelously for injured Dodger veterans.

Monasterios was brilliant in his first major league start, going four innings while only allowing one run. Manager Joe Torre pulled him after 79 pitches, leaving many to wonder why he didn’t stretch him out over the fifth inning, which would have qualified him for the win. However, Monasterios isn’t the only young Dodger getting valuable regular season experience. 

Pitcher Charlie Haeger, catcher A.J. Ellis and utility outfielder Xavier Paul all have bolstered their major league resumes this season, as injuries continue to nag the defending National League West Champions. Haeger has had a “rough go” of it so far this season, but he has filled in as an innings eater, sometimes pitching on just three days rest, in a time when the Dodgers have really needed him. Ellis has become the catcher for Haeger, and has given Russell Martin a much needed break as Martin’s groin continues to heal. Paul is seeing significant innings, even batting leadoff in front of Russell Martin while Rafael Furcal is still out with hamstring issues. Thus far, Paul is struggling at the plate, batting just .200 (3-for-15) but providing versatility and range in the outfield.

Although the Dodger rookies and prospects can’t all be Jason Haywards, their roles are all vital in the season swing for a team looking to rebound once their veterans come back from the disabled list. The role of unsung hero is one that is rarely relished in the public eye. So give them a hand, they are the reason we are still within range of the division lead.

Hiroki Kuroda and Clayton Kershaw need to remain consistent, as it is apparent they will need to carry the load for a rotation lacking depth, and thus far it appears the rest of the pitching staff is following the lead. Dodgers pitching has allowed just five runs in the last three games. Granted, it was against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but hey, it’s a two game win streak and the Dodgers have looked dominant after losing two of three to the sea burglars in Pittsburgh.

With the recent performance of the Dodgers’ pitching staff and a return to consistency with the offense, the Dodgers look to be on the up-and-up. One thing is for sure, the trend is uplifting for L.A. fans: The team ERA is dropping, and the run production is rising. Good things to come…

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