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Strangest Dodgers story of the year

December 26, 2010 |  1:50 pm

OK, at least in the non-Vladimir Shpunt division. I’m thinking nothing will ever get stranger than the Rasputin-magic-cosmic-vibes story. Or more hilarious.

But for this one, we are talking on-the-field-weird. Shake-the-head-in-bewilderment odd.

And the winner is -- the non-debut debut of John Lindsey.

It was a puzzler. Lindsey, who had toiled exclusively in the minor leagues for 16 years, gets a September call-up by the Dodgers.

Then finally, he emerges from the dugout on Sept. 8 and is announced as a pinch-hitter. Enough to make you get a lump in the old cynical throat.

Only the Padres switched pitchers and Manager Joe Torre called Lindsey back, pinch-hitting Andre Ethier instead.

And that was Lindsey’s major-league debut. Officially appearing in a game he never played in.

Lindsey, 33, was typically good-natured about it. Through all his travails, he remained refreshingly upbeat.

It was a bizarre enough moment that it made one of ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark’s always entertaining season-review stories -- this one, naturally, about the strangest aspects to baseball’s 2010 season.

Lindsey did actually play for the first time the next day, flying out to center. He collected his first major-league hit on Sept. 12 at Houston.

Still, Lindsey’s long wait to make it to the majors would end without a storybook finish. The Pacific Coast League batting champion ended up with just the one hit in 12 at-bats (.083) before having his hand fractured by a pitch on Sept. 25.

At this moment, Lindsey -- who turns 34 next month -- remains on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.

-- Steve Dilbeck

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