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So it's spring; Mike MacDougal has earned a prolonged look by Dodgers

Sometimes there is just not much more you can ask someone do to. The Dodgers could not have asked anything more of Mike MacDougal this spring, unless maybe he had a few extra million lying around to loan Frank McCourt.

The Dodgers looked like they were taking a desperate flier on a reliever past his prime when they signed the right-hander in the offseason. At the time, you could say I was less than giddy. OK, so maybe they were taking a desperate flier; it’s worked.

Whether it lasts or not, MacDougal has been just shy of sensational this spring and earned a roster spot.

Monday night in the Dodgers’ 5-4 loss to the Angels, MacDougal pitched a scoreless fifth inning. And that’s the only kind of inning he’s pitched for the Dodgers.

In 11 appearances this spring, he’s given up exactly zero runs. That makes for a perfect 0.00 ERA. In 10 innings, he’s allowed four hits.

Wildness and health have been MacDougal’s historic issues.

Only now he says he's healthy -- no hip, shoulder or sinus issues. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and bullpen coach Kenny Howell have worked on compacting his windup to battle wildness. You could say it’s all worked.

He’s 34, so there are no guarantees. Yet with Vicente Padilla injured and Ronald Belisario somewhere in Venezuela, MacDougal has seized his opportunity.

A former All-Star closer with three 20-save seasons, he has walked seven this spring, but mostly he has been a pitcher in control. A pitcher who looks an awful lot like the guy who saved 20 games as recently as 2009 for the Washington Nationals.

One who will now be given a chance to approach that same performance in the regular season.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Mike MacDougal. Credit: Jake Roth / US Presswire

Comments () | Archives (4)

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I lose count. Should this continue into the regular season, Flanders is at least 1-for-what this offseason?

I do hope MacDougal has fixed his wildness problems, because based on the performance of Broxton last night, we'll need all the help we can get. Broxton's familiar pattern not making batters swing and miss came into play last night, along with his inability to pitch out of jams. After DeJesus Jr.'s ill-timed error on a potential double play ball that would have ended the game, I could tell by Broxton's body language that he wouldn't be able to get out of the inning without giving up runs. He proved me right. After getting the first out of the inning, Broxton gave up his usual line drive hit to right field by a right handed batter. I wish I'd kept track of how many times this happened last season, but you'll just have to take my word for it. Then came the error and another typical Broxton meltdown before he was able to retire the Angels. A REAL CLOSER would have shrugged off the error and retired the side without a run scoring. Broxton proved again that he wasn't up to the task.
That's why we'll need MacDougal and others in the bullpen to pitch effectively this season, because we certainly will not be able to count on Broxton. He hasn't improved one bit since last season, unfortunately. I will not buy into his argument that he's more effective "pitching to contact." A big boy like him should be blowing batters away.

Who is Mike MacDougal?

Broxton continues to amaze and confound the masses. Imagine what he is doing to the pitching coaches? He a) refuses to lose weight and b) work another pitch - i.e. a change up. Yes, a changeup that works just fine for Heath Bell and got Trevor Hoffman to HOF consideration. No our Brox just keeps grooving his 100 fastball to unafraid hitters, and now it is closer to 90 than triple didgets.


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