It’s still February. Clayton Kershaw is even a little rusty. The D-backs beat the Dodgers 4-1 in the first Spring Training Game of 2014. The Dodgers were the visitors at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, and their unfamiliarity with the spacious ball park gave the Dodgers outfielders a rough time which didn’t help Kershaw’s 42-pitch outing.
Yasiel Puig‘s offense was the only thing that sparked during the Cactus League opener, and the supposed heftier Puig had a single and a run-scoring double brought home by Carl Crawford which was good for the only run of the day for the Dodgers.
The other interesting side story during the game was the two innings of impressive relief work by Rule 5 Draftee Seth Rosin. Rosin, a dark horse candidate to make the squad, struck out 5 Snakes in just two innings. Rosin only allowed one hit, a single, to Cliff Pennington in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Originally an arm in the Giants farm system, Rosin was traded along with Nate Schierholtz and Tommy Joseph in exchange for Hunter Pence from the Phillies on July 31, 2012. The Phillies subsequently lost Rosin to the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft the following year. Almost immediately after the Mets selected Rosin in the Rule 5 Draft, they turned around and traded him to the Dodgers.
The big 25-year old right-hander born in Fargo, North Dakota has perhaps the most to prove to Dodgers management this Spring. Rosin must be added to the 25-man roster and remain there for the entirety of the 2014 season. Otherwise the pitcher would be offered back to the Mets.
Last season in AA, Rosin went 9-6 with a 4.33 ERA and 96 strikeouts with only 35 walks over 26 games (23 starts). Ned Colletti seemed intrigued by Rosin when his name popped up during the media conference at the Winter Development Camp this offseason.
Unfortunately the Dodgers have a plethora of pitching right now, and the bullpen is overstuffed at the moment. Of course this is a wonderful problem to have, but it doesn’t look good for the young right-hander in terms of sticking with the Dodgers.
Unless of course he continues to impress, and others either don’t fare so well or fall to injury. The Dodgers still have big question marks on the field with Josh Beckett, Paul Maholm, and Chad Billingsley. All three are either rehabbing from major surgery or in Maholm’s case working back from some elbow issues. A young, strong pitcher like Rosin could really be useful for the Dodgers. The only snag is that Brandon League will be flying to Australia.
I’d rather have the upside of an emerging arm like Rosin than the flusterings of Brandon League any day. League and Chris Perez are two relievers who could either make this bullpen one of the best Dodger pitching collections in some time, or they could be the gaping holes which hold the bullpen back from creating that smooth cohesion from inning to inning.
The fifth spot in the rotation is one of the biggest, glaring pencil name in here parts of this Dodger team. Josh Beckett right now is in the forefront to step into the fifth spot, but his Spring has been limited slightly from the other pitchers due to the seriousness of his surgical procedure and history of nerve problems. Seth Rosin is seemingly healthy and raring to go. To lose Rosin because of Brandon League’s spot is a shame. I just hope that Rosin gets the opportunity to showcase his skills enough this winter in order to make the decision even harder for the Dodgers.
It’s funny that I expected to see a dominating Kershaw today, but instead a Rule 5 Draftee who has never pitched higher than AA made an impact on me. That’s the great part of Spring Training. You never know what can happen.