Haeger downplays strikeout bonanza
Dodgers knuckleballer says movement can also mean walks
LOS ANGELES -- Knuckleball specialist and fifth starter Charlie Haeger, who makes his second start Sunday, became the first Dodger to strike out 12 or more in his first start in April since future Hall of Famer Don Drysdale struck out 14 on Opening Day in 1960, according to research by Jon Chapper of the Dodgers publicity department.Haeger, however, cautioned that a high strikeout total for a knuckleball pitcher is not always a good thing. "It means the ball is really moving, but sometimes it moves too much and leads to walks," said Haeger. "It happened in the fourth inning of that game with the two walks. That's why the pitch can be your best friend one day and you're fighting it the next."
Dodgers expecting more from bullpen
LOS ANGELES -- The entire Dodgers bullpen crew was called into a meeting with manager Joe Torre after batting practice Wednesday. Dodgers relievers have a composite 5.68 ERA."Right now, we need to get our bullpen straightened out," Torre said before the meeting. "We need an idea when we go down there what to expect. Right now, we're not sure." General manager Ned Colletti went further. "It's upside down out there right now," said Colletti. "You can't fall behind at-bat after at-bat and expect to succeed. Very few ever have. And probably what irritates me even more is getting ahead and not putting away. And it's not just the first week of the season. It's been like that for a while." Reinforcements Hong-Chih Kuo and Ronald Belisario could be arriving soon. Kuo, out with his typical elbow woes, will make a Minor League rehab appearance Thursday night for Class A Inland Empire, starting and throwing one inning. If that goes well, he could be activated on the next trip. Belisario, who missed five weeks of Spring Training with visa problems, was scheduled to throw in an extended spring training game for the second time Wednesday. Colletti was in Arizona to see Belisario's first game Monday. "His slider is still flat," said Colletti. "His arm strength is good, the velocity strong. There's life in his fastball, but he hasn't got a second pitch yet. That's why Spring Training is seven weeks and not seven days." Torre said Jeff Weaver -- who has pitched in six of the Dodgers' seven games -- was unavailable Wednesday and left open the possibility for longer. "We've gone to the well once too often," Torre said.
DeWitt gets extra infield work
LOS ANGELES -- An hour before batting practice, it was Spring Training all over again for second baseman Blake DeWitt.Coaches Larry Bowa and Mariano Duncan repeated some of the drills they put DeWitt through in Arizona, emphasizing fielding grounders backhanded and turning the double-play pivot at second base.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.