08/06/11 7:50 PM ET
Dodgers tap pitching-rich pipeline at Double-A
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
On Saturday, Nathan Eovaldi became the fourth pitcher promoted directly from Double-A to the Dodgers this year, a jump that years ago was unthinkable and now has become commonplace.
Part of it is by design, as management tries to keep its best pitching prospects out of the altitude of Triple-A Albuquerque.
But part of it is the result of a Draft philosophy that tilts heavily toward big, hard-throwing pitchers, of which Eovaldi fits the profile.
Manager Don Mattingly, while not conceding that he's only looking toward next year, said these kids are the future and getting looks now can only be a good thing.
"It's a huge benefit," Mattingly said. "They get a chance to see the difference between the Minor Leagues and the Major Leagues. I know myself, I didn't know the difference. To experience it is kind of invaluable. Sometimes it's the little stuff, being around the guys, learning where to drop off your luggage, stuff you think should be no-brainers."
In addition to Eovaldi, Chattanooga has sent the Dodgers Javy Guerra, Rubby De La Rosa and Josh Lindblom. Among the pitchers still there are first-round picks Chris Withrow and Ethan Martin, starting prospect Allen Webster and reliever Shawn Tolleson, who as a Texas prepster was rated ahead of Clayton Kershaw as a prospect.
Perfect 10: Guerra thriving as Dodgers' closer
PHOENIX -- Javy Guerra on Friday night converted his first four-out save.
First ever, at any level.
Having inherited the Dodgers' closer role from the injured Jonathan Broxton, Guerra is a perfect 10-for-10 in save opportunities, the first Dodger to do that since Takashi Saito went 12-for-12, with a 1.69 ERA, in 2006.
Guerra has convinced manager Don Mattingly he's the real deal, even if he's not doing it in the heat of a pennant race.
"These are still big situations," Mattingly said. "I don't care if it's a race or not, it's still a tough situation. Watch the way he's reacted, his demeanor. I don't think he goes out there saying, 'We're 13 back, it doesn't matter.' Other than the San Diego game where the bases were loaded, most of his are non-top-steppers."
Guerra came up from Double-A Chattanooga to make his Major League debut May 15 and now he's getting four-out saves, as he did Friday night, which included three strikeouts.
"Mentally, you just have to prepare for it and try to treat the eighth-inning at-bats like they're the ninth," he said. "I watched 'Brox' do it a lot. I never did it in the Minor Leagues, but it's kind of different in the Major Leagues. There's obviously more on the line. Even though this was the first time for me, I just went at it like I had to get an out."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.