UCLA: Dan Klein

In the dugout with John Savage

January, 26, 2011
1/26/11
10:17
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Caught up with UCLA baseball coach John Savage at Southern California Baseball Media Day in Anaheim on Wednesday after he won "Best Presentation" in the third annual ESPN Zone Coaches Cook-off. Here's a transcript of the conversation:

What's the feeling heading into the Feb. 18 opener?

Savage: I think we have great chemistry within the program. There's a lot of guys who played in Omaha last year and went through a season of 51 wins. I think they're expecting bigger and better things. That's tough to do when you win that many games and you get that close to a national championship, but there's unfinished business. We know it's a process, we know it's a game to game thing. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves. We did lose a lot of depth -- we lost 54 percent of our innings. People don't realize that. All they want to talk about is (Gerrit) Cole and (Trevor) Bauer, but this team is not going to be all about them. We need the young guys to step up and we need a new shortstop, some new guys in the field that are going to have to step up. We've got some questions to be answered for sure. We know we're young in some spots -- only two seniors on the roster, not a lot of juniors. If you look at the percentage of players on our roster, a lot of them are freshmen or sophomores. The expectations are there and that's always a good thing.

You've named freshman Adam Plutko as the team's Sunday starter and freshman Nick Vander Tuig as closer. What made you settle on those two?

Savage: It's not a final answer, but we're grooming Adam to be that Sunday guy. He has pitched very well in January and had a very good fall. He's really a guy that had a tremendous senior year [at Glendora High]. He had all the intangibles to be a front line Division I starter, so we're going to go with it. Vander Tuig, on the back end of the game, didn't pitch his senior year, so he hasn't pitched competitively in a long time. But he's a very talented guy, he's completely healthy, throws strikes with three pitches, holds runners, we think he has the mentality to close out games. He has big shoes to fill with [third-rounder] Dan Klein and certainly Adam with [second-rounder] Rob Rasmussen. There's going to be some learning moments, for sure, at the beginning of the year. But that's what the beginning of the year is for. What we start off with might not be what we end up with, but we hope that goes as planned.

With three-year player Niko Gallego gone, who is your shortstop this season?

Savage: Well, we've got (freshman) Pat Valaika -- who has been very good for us -- and Adrian Williams, who brings some experience back. Adrian and Pat are really competing for that job, so we feel that either way we go, we're confident in both guys. They're both very competitive; they're leaders. That's a major role on any team -- that middle infield position. We feel like both Pat and Adrian can fill that role.

You were one of the most successful small-ball teams in the country last year, given your bunting, hit-and-runs and stealing. Do you see the new bat having an impact on your team?

Savage: Yeah, I do. The new bats are definitely going to tone down the games. I thought the game was fine the way it was played last year, the scores were fine. It's going to shorten the length of the games, that's for sure. We definitely see that. Less pitch count, I see the pitch counts not get as high. I see the ball traveling a lot less than it did. I think you'll see a lot less home runs. Doubles will have to be gappers and hard ground balls. You won't see a lot of travel with the ball. That's going to change the game a bit. Everybody is a little uncertain about how it is going to happen, but everybody is dealing with it.

What role do you see recent Cal transfer Eric Jaffe having on this team?

Savage: It looks like Jaffe will be coming out of the bullpen -- power arm, 19th-round pick of Boston coming out of high school. It's really unfortunate we got him. We still feel sick about what they decided at Cal. It was a sad day for college baseball and certainly their players. It's very, very unfortunate. Eric is a guy that has high upside and potential. We look for him to help us out of the bullpen in those middle innings.

On the mound with Dan Klein

July, 27, 2010
7/27/10
11:57
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As UCLA's go-to reliever, Dan Klein closed out his share of ballgames last season. The right-handed closer would like to seal up one more thing.

Klein, a third-round selection by the Baltimore Orioles in last month's MLB Draft, has not signed and could therefore return for his redshirt junior season. His situation is complicated because has more leverage than your typical third-year player, meaning he could still potentially increase his stock. And although Klein did not want to elaborate on the specifics of his ongoing negotiations with the Orioles, he added that he wants to sign and is looking forward to taking his talents to the professional ranks.

Chris Carlson/Associated Press Dan Klein hopes wants to take his fist pump to the minors.



"I think I could help myself out if I came back to school," Klein said Tuesday afternoon. "Then again, I'd like to start my pro career now."

For now, Klein is keeping his arm in shape by working out at home. He's not playing in any competitive summer league, so he throws a couple of bullpens every week. His signing can occur any day, so he has to stay ready.

Klein, who saved 10 games and posted a 6-1 record with a team-best 1.90 ERA in 52 innings last season, admitted that he's tangled in a win-win scenario.

"I don't have a problem if things don't work out," he said. "I don't have a problem returning to UCLA and helping them get back to Omaha. I have a great opportunity with the Baltimore Orioles right now. If things don't work out with them -- which I hope they will -- I have no problem going back to school to try to win a national championship."
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One-on-one

Baseball: Blair Dunlap signs with Baltimore

July, 15, 2010
7/15/10
7:22
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Blair Dunlap, a 43rd-round selection who hit .314 as a redshirt senior last season, signed with the Baltimore Orioles and was assigned to the Aberdeen IronBirds of the Class A New York-Penn League.

Dunlap is one of three Bruins taken by Baltimore -- the other two being closer Dan Klein (third round) and left-hander Matt Drummond (20th round). Both are expected to eventually sign.

Dunlap, who hails from Mission Viejo, was the oldest player on last season's team and posted his best offensive campaign. He hit .300 as a freshman in 2006, took a medical redshirt the following year and then hit .250 and .301 the next two seasons. Dunlap moved from the outfield to designated hitter to make room for freshman Beau Amaral, who earned second-team all-freshman honors from Baseball America.

Baseball team's offseason heats up

July, 14, 2010
7/14/10
2:12
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Some offseason notes to pass along:
  • Steve Pearse, who served as UCLA's infield and baserunning coach the last two seasons, accepted the head coaching position at Reedley College late last week. A replacement has not been named.
  • Niko Gallego, a 27th-round selection in last month's MLB Draft, signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 11 to forgo his senior season. Gallego, the son of 13-year big leaguer and current Oakland Athletics third base coach Mike Gallego, will be assigned to Class High-A Visalia of the California League. Gallego's departure means slick-fielding backup Adrian Williams, who is playing the West Coast League this summer, will have an opportunity to start at shortstop next season.
  • Reliever Erik Goeddel, a 24th-rounder who excelled as UCLA's setup man last season, has agreed to terms with the New York Mets. His signing leaves a gaping hole in the Bruins' bullpen since closer Dan Klein (third round) and Matt Grace (eighth round) are also expected to sign.
  • Right-handed pitcher Garett Claypool, an 11th-rounder for the Philadelphia Phillies, is 2-0 with an ERA of 2.25 in two games with the Williamsport Crosscutters of the Class A Short-season New York-Penn League.
  • Meanwhile, the five UCLA signees who were selected in the MLB Draft have yet to sign professionally. They are: pitchers Adam Plutko (Houston Astros, sixth round), Zachary Weiss (Pittsburgh Pirates, 10th round) and Nick Vander Tuig (Toronto Blue Jays, 39th round), outfielder Brenton Allen (Philadelphia Phillies, ninth round) and infielder Kevin Williams (Los Angeles Dodgers, 41st round). Incoming freshmen have until August 15 to sign.

Baseball: Rasmussen, Klein off the board

June, 8, 2010
6/08/10
12:21
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UCLA pitchers Rob Rasmussen and Dan Klein have been snatched up early in Day 2 of the MLB Draft.

Rasmussen, a junior left-hander who won his 10th game of the season Sunday in the Regional-clincher, was taken in the second round -- 73rd overall by the Florida Marlins. Klein, a draft-eligible redshirt sophomore and the team's lights-out closer, was selected with the third pick of the third round (85th overall) by the Baltimore Orioles.

This is not the first draft experience for either. Rasmussen, who stands at 5-foot-10 but can bring it with a low- to mid-90s fastball and above-average curve, was drafted in the 27th round by the Dodgers three years ago out of high school. Klein was also selected in that draft, in the 24th round, by the Orioles.

UCLA Athletics Rob Rasmussen


Rasmussen missed a majority of his freshman season after taking a sharp liner off his plant foot. He came back in time to make eight more appearances, including the Regional final at Cal State Fullerton. The 21-year-old had success in the renowned Cape Cod League the last two summers and started on the mound at the 2009 All-Star Game at Fenway Park. Rasmussen is 10-2 with a 2.90 earned-run average and has struck out 108 batters in 90 innings.

UCLA Athletics Dan Klein


Klein, meanwhile, has come out of nowhere after missing all of his sophomore season because of shoulder issues. The former Anaheim Servite High starting quarterback has anchored UCLA's dominant bullpen, going 5-0 with nine saves and a 2.03 earned-run average. He has struck out 48 and walked only eight in 44 1/3 innings of work.

The two figure to play prominent roles this coming weekend in UCLA's Super Regional best-of-three series against rival Cal State Fullerton. If the series goes three games, Rasmussen would most likely get the ball on Sunday. Klein, on the other hand, would take the mound if the Bruins hold a late lead.

Baseball: Bruins take thriller in Berkeley

May, 21, 2010
5/21/10
9:28
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BERKELEY -- UCLA baseball head coach John Savage might still be kicking himself for missing the end of this one.

No. 10 UCLA scored three runs in the ninth after twice being down to its final strike, eventually leaving Evans Diamond with an 8-7 victory over California. The Golden Bears had assumed a lead with three runs in the previous inning -- just moments after the Bruins took a lead of their own.

Savage, though, missed all the drama and heroics after getting tossed for arguing a balk called on starter Gerrit Cole in the eighth. The sixth-year coach could have easily walked back to the dugout without dragging out his debate, but he knew how important the series opener was for UCLA (39-11, 14-8 Pac-10).

"I need a little recap, actually," Savage said with a smirk. "They put me in the solitary confinement. I saw the three on the scoreboard and said, "Oh gosh, what happened?' Then I saw our three runs. It was gut-wrenching."

After getting thrown out of the game, Savage was escorted into the visitor's changing room in the adjacent Haas Pavilion -- where only the stadium's scoreboard was visible. All Savage could do was keep an eye on the numbers.

Sophomore Tyler Rahmatulla provided him with some relief, managing to bloop a game-tying RBI single to right field after being down to his final strike. Freshman Beau Amaral -- who had just driven in a run facing a two-strike count of his own -- scored the go-ahead run from first when Cal right fielder Danny Oh misplayed Rahmatulla's hit.

The call from John Ramey of the UCLA radio network:



"If we want to play in Omaha, we have to be able to win games like that," Rahmatulla said. "I wanted that knock so bad. I had to stay as relaxed as possible."

Imagine how Savage was feeling.

Cal (27-20,11-11) had scored the go-ahead runs off usually reliable closer Dan Klein during a three-run eighth. Marcus Semien homered to left field despite a strong wind that messed with fly balls all afternoon.

"Our morale was fine," Klein said. "[Shortstop] Niko [Gallego] came up to me after that and told me to get the next guy so we could go get the win. We're playing with a lot of confidence right now. We all have each other's backs."

Savage can only hope that the team's video crew had his back by capturing the final inning on tape.

Baseball: Bruins hang on to sweep Washington

May, 9, 2010
5/09/10
6:28
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Things got a bit interesting late in Sunday's game -- perhaps a little too interesting for the Bruins' taste -- but the UCLA baseball team managed to leave Seattle with a sweep of Washington.

The Huskies tagged UCLA closer Dan Klein for four runs in the ninth inning, but he retired the final two batters to help the secure a 7-6 Bruins victory. Before him, junior left-hander Rob Rasmussen (7-2) had done enough to erase the memories of last Sunday's rough outing in which he allowed seven runs and seven hits in four innings during a 12-3 loss to Arizona State.

Rasmussen went 6 2/3 innings Sunday, surrendering just a run on five hits. Washington did its damage once Rasmussen exited, scoring the last five runs of the game. But UCLA (34-10, 10-8 Pac-10) had built a 6-0 cushion early.

UCLA won its 34th game -- the most wins in a season since 2004 when it finished 35-29. The Bruins also won their fourth straight game after being swept at home by the Sun Devils. The four-game streak is the longest since UCLA opened the season on a 22-0 run.

Claypool leads UCLA to 4-1 win over UC Irvine

April, 27, 2010
4/27/10
10:34
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Garett Claypool was zoned in Tuesday night.

The senior right-hander tossed a career-high 7 2/3 innings, leading the UCLA baseball team to a 4-1 win against UC Irvine (24-14) at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

"Every time you’re out there, you want to compete and go as long as you can," Claypool said. "I had to do a little convincing to have coach [John Savage] keep me in the game.”

By the time Savage brought in Erik Goeddel in the eighth, Claypool had done enough. The Bruins' offense had done just enough too.

After stranding eight runners in the first four innings, UCLA scored three in the fifth -- highlighted by Chris Giovinazzo's two-run blast -- to open a rather comfortable 4-0 advantage.

Closer Dan Klein lowered his ERA to a minuscule 0.62 and earned his eighth save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

UCLA (30-7), which reached 30 wins in the fewest games in program history, welcomes No. 3 Arizona State (33-5) for a three-game series beginning Friday night.

Baseball beats Oregon State in marathon

April, 10, 2010
4/10/10
11:12
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It started to feel like the game that would never end.

Finally -- a good six hours and 23 minutes later -- the UCLA baseball team broke through, finding the will to defeat Oregon State, 3-1, in 16 innings Saturday.

Sophomore catcher Steve Rodriguez smacked a clutch two-run single in the top of the 16th inning to break a 1-1 tie. He was four for eight at the plate.

Head coach John Savage used all but five of his players in a game that began at 2 p.m.

No. 3 UCLA (24-3, 3-2 Pac-10) got on the board with a run in the fifth and was three outs away from the win. But the Beavers (20-7, 3-2) tagged Bruins closer Dan Klein for the tying run -- his first given up this season -- in the ninth. Matt Grace and Garett Claypool combined for six innings of scoreless relief.

Both teams blew their share of opportunities. UCLA left 22 runners on base and No. 17 Oregon State stranded 17.

UCLA starter Trevor Bauer had pitched a gem, tossing 7 1/3 innings of scoreless ball. He struck out eight.

The teams take the field at noon Sunday in the final game of the series.
One loss was enough for the UCLA baseball team.

A day after losing for the first time this season, the No. 6 Bruins (23-1) responded with a 7-5 victory over No. 19 Stanford on Saturday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium. With the win, UCLA took its first Pac-10 Conference series.

Sophomore closer Dan Klein continued his late-game dominance, earning his sixth save of the season by tossing two scoreless innings (his scoreless streak is now up to 19 2/3 innings). Junior left-hander Rob Rasmussen (4-0) got the win with a solid six innings (three earned runs and four hits).

Offensively, UCLA was led by a mix of young and old -- junior shortstop Niko Gallego and freshman outfielder Cody Keefer. Gallego scored three runs and was three for four, while Keefer knocked in three runs on two hits.
It was business as usual for the UCLA baseball team at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Thursday night.

Another win -- the 18th straight to start the season. Another offensive showcase -- the 11 runs and 15 hits serving as evidence. Another brilliant pitching performance? Not quite.

UCLA pitchers combined to give up seven runs to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo -- the most the Bruins have given up in a game this season.

Not that it mattered. Offensively, UCLA (18-0) opened with a double, a bunt single, a sacrifice fly, another double and a single for the first three runs of the game. The Bruins continued to score their runs in bunches, adding three in the third and five in the fourth to stretch the lead to 11-0. It seemed as if it was going to be a long night for Cal Poly pitching.

But that was that for UCLA's bats.

"I think we got lazy towards the end," said freshman Cody Keefer, who was three for five and drove in five runs. "We came out and got a good start, but we just let off the pedal."

The 11-run lead was more than enough for right-hander Gerrit Cole, who got his sixth win in six starts. But he nearly didn't get the win after struggling with the control of his fastball in the fifth. He finished the night with three earned runs and seven walks.

Cal Poly scored seven unanswered before Erik Goeddel and Dan Klein preserved UCLA's four-run lead in the final two innings.

Right-hander Trevor Bauer, the other ace, takes the hill Friday night.

Baseball uses big inning to dispose of UCSB

March, 23, 2010
3/23/10
5:22
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In Westwood... or on the road. Night... or day.

So far, it's all been the same for the UCLA baseball team. The latest example came Tuesday afternoon, as UCLA traveled up the 101 Freeway to defeat UC Santa Barbara 7-1 and improve to 17-0 on the season. It was the Bruins' seventh win away from Jackie Robinson Stadium.

It was yet another example of UCLA's depth on the mound, with senior right-hander Garett Claypool (2-0) allowing one run in seven innings of work and striking out 10 of the 24 batters he faced. Relievers Erik Goeddel and Dan Klein combined to toss two scoreless innings out of bullpen.

After stranding four runners in the first three innings, UCLA broke through with five runs on seven hits in the fourth. The scrappy, wear-you-out Bruins finished with 16 hits -- none of which were home runs. Blair Dunlap had three hits, while Tyler Rahmatulla, Cody Keefer, Cody Regis, Justin Uribe and Beau Amaral had two apiece.

No. 9 UCLA (17-0) returns to Jackie Robinson Stadium Thursday night to take on Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (7-11) in the first of a three-game set.

Baseball moves up in rankings

March, 22, 2010
3/22/10
2:12
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It took 16 consecutive wins, but the UCLA baseball team finally landed in the top 10 of Baseball America's latest collegiate rankings.

UCLA (16-0) comes in at No. 9 after sweeping Oral Roberts over the weekend is one of the nation's two remaining undefeated teams (Pac-10 rival Arizona is the other at 20-0). The Bruins have ascended 14 spots from their preseason No. 23 billing.
  • Much of the preseason talk centered around UCLA's outstanding pitching staff -- and the group has not disappointed. Gerrit Cole (ace 1A) and Trevor Bauer (ace 1B) are a combined 9-0 and have struck out 96 batters in nine starts. Sunday starter Rob Rasmussen has impressed as well, posting an ERA of 2.79. First-year closer Dan Klein has not allowed a run in 11 innings.
  • The team's offense was an uncertainty but it too has not shown signs of slowing down. In fact, every starter is hitting .333 or better, with sophomore second baseman Tyler Rahmatulla leading the charge at .431.
  • The production is coming from unlikely sources. For instance, the freshmen are hitting a combined .381 (53-for-139). On top of that, sophomore catcher Steve Rodriguez is hitting .395 and leads the team with five home runs. He struggled as a freshman last spring, hitting .179 (17-for-95 in 38 games) last spring. He already has 17 hits through 16 games this season.

UCLA looks to keep it going at UC Santa Barbara (9-6) on Tuesday afternoon.

Baseball: UCLA sweeps double-header

March, 5, 2010
3/05/10
9:52
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The Bruins are off to their best start since 1978 thanks to two wins against Nebraska at Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday.

No. 19 UCLA cruised to a 13-1 victory in the first game behind seven strong innings from ace Gerrit Cole, who struck out nine and gave up the lone run and two hits. Justin Uribe had three hits, including a deep home run to right field. Tyler Rahmatulla had three hits, and Brett Krill and Steve Rodriguez also hit home runs.

About an hour after the first game ended, UCLA (8-0) picked up where it left off. Trevor Bauer earned his second victory by giving up only one run in 6 2/3 innings, as UCLA won 5-3. Bauer struck out 10 and closer Dan Klein notched his second save with 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

The Bruins led 4-0 after four innings and held on for their eighth victory of the season. It's UCLA's first eight-game win streak since 2001.

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