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No. 5 Starter Watch: Dodgers (and DeWitt)

4/1/2010

No fooling: Charlie Haeger's won his spurs. From Dodger Thoughts:

    The Dodgers just broke bottles of champagne on the broadsides of Blake DeWitt and Charlie Haeger, with Joe Torre officially announcing they have been named the team's starting second baseman and No. 5 starting pitcher.

    "Blake DeWitt is our second baseman," Torre told reporters before tonight's exhibition. "Over the long haul, DeWitt needs to play everyday. Belliard and Carroll can play against left-handers ... so we have flexibility. If someone gets hot, we'll find a spot for them.

    --snip--

    "Haeger will be our fifth starter. He can pitch out of the bullpen before that. His versatility is a plus. We'll give him a shot."

DeWitt's already had an interesting career, grabbing the every-day job at third base in 2008 before he was ready, then playing semi-regularly in late September as the Dodgers fought off the Diamondbacks for the division title. Last year he was hurt, and spent most of the season with Albuquerque. I think he'll hit OK, but I'm not sure OK's good enough for a guy who's not proved he can play a decent second base. Statistically speaking. We'll see.

Meanwhile, the main event ... I never really believed Joe Torre would trust a knuckleballer with a slot in the rotation. Not for long, anyway. Haeger got three starts in last August, pitched well in two of them, and was thrown over for Jon Garland; Haeger pitched only three times in September, all short relief outings. Which left me with the distinct impression that Torre, at 69, just wasn't interested in learning a new trick.

I hope I was wrong. We'll see.