April 17, 2014

No Joke! DeWitt and Haeger Land Starting Jobs

To the delight of Dodgers fans everywhere, second baseman Blake DeWitt and knuckleball starting pitcher Charlie Haeger were named to the club’s 40 man roster for the start of the 2010 season.

Now DeWitt seems like an obvious choice.  The guy has been a monster with the bat throughout Spring Training hitting .339 with an amazing .975 OPS.  But his offense has never been the issue: it’s his fielding.  Yes, DeWitt made three errors this spring that he probably shouldn’t have, but not enough to dislodge him from second base.  Plus let’s remember it’s Spring Training, so ALL of these numbers I just cited need to be taken with a grain of salt.  If DeWitt falters, Ronnie Belliard and Jamey Carroll will be there to pick up the slack, but here’s hoping the kid can be productive and hold in to the job throughout the season.

Jon Weisman has the details on the particularly cruel way Ned Colletti and Joe Torre delivered the news today.  Per Joe Torre:

“We initially pulled the April Fools’ Day prank on Blake. We told him he was going down, but we didn’t keep him there long. He was joyed, relieved. That’s as emotional as I’ve seen him in a long time.”

Charlie Haeger will be the fifth starter when the Dodgers open the season, meaning he’ll open the season on the road against the Florida Marlins.  Personally (and for totally emotional reasons), I’m psyched the 26 year-old made the team.  Having a knuckleballer on the club is pretty unusual, and I think the fans will love seeing Haeger throw.  I had a chance to watch him during Spring Training in Arizona (where throwing a knuckleball is notoriously difficult) and it was a treat.  Clearly Haeger has learned a lot from Dodgers pitching instructor, and former knuckleballer, Charlie Hough.

Per Rhett Bolllinger at MLB.com:

“I feel like a little kid,” Haeger said. “I just feel happy. It’s like a dream come true. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time and it’s finally here.”

But do I think Haeger will be the fifth starter at the All-Star Break?  Doubtful.   Torre has plenty of options with the Ortiz “brothers” (Ramon and Russ) should Haeger struggle, to say nothing of McDonald, Stults, Weaver and potentially Towers.  In my opinion, McDonald and Stults have the most pure potential, but Haeger makes sense to start now based on what he did at Camelback Ranch.

* Editor’s Note: I picked this heading before noticing that MLB.com also shares my same sense of humor!

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2010 (DeWitt Photo)

Photo Credit: Chris Volk/Dodgerfan.net 2010 (Haeger Photo)