Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Young bullpen guns make spring debuts

Despite Ned Colletti's infatuation with over-the-hill middle relievers, the Dodgers are relying on quite a few youngsters in the bullpen -- namely Kenley Jansen, Javy Guerra and Scott Elbert.

The trio made their season debuts today and it went pretty well.

Jansen threw fifth inning, striking out only one. I say only because he averaged 16.1 K/9 last season -- an MLB record for a pitcher with at least 50 IP. He isn't going to match that number by striking out just one hitter. /sarcasm

Elbert followed him in the sixth and gave up a hit, a walk and struck out one. Guerra pitched the seventh and also threw a scoreless inning, but he walked two in the process and struck out one.

We know the Achilles' Heel for the youngsters is going to be control, and while Elbert and Guerra didn't give up any runs, they had to pitch out of trouble.

I know, they aren't going to be perfect every game. It's just something to keep in the back of one's mind this season.

Of the trio, Guerra is most likely to regress the most because of his Minor League track record. Still, it's nice to see the young guys getting a chance.

With Jansen anchoring the bullpen (even if he's not the closer), it could be a strength for the team this season.

Other notes from today's game:

- Prospect Chris Withrow made his debut and pitching two innings. He gave up one hit, allowed one run, walked one and struck out one. He also hit a batter and threw two wild pitches. For his first appearance with the big league club, it wasn't terrible.

- Tony Gwynn drew two walks against Atheltics' pitching. He also stole his second base of the spring.

- Cory Sullivan, famed Dodger killer, picked up three of the Dodgers' four hits today. He collected a double and the game-tying RBI.

Coming up

The Dodgers face the A's again on Thursday and Jarrod Parker, former Diamondback top prospect whom they acquired for Trevor Cahill, will take the hill. Chris Capuano will make his Dodger debut. The only prospect (using this loosely) of note for the Dodgers scheduled to pitch tomorrow is Stephen Fife, who was acquired from Boston in the Trayvon Robinson deal on July 31.

Photo credit: SD Dirk (Flickr)

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