Brandon League has made no secret he’s worked on putting his 2013 troubles behind him. League not only lost his role as closer for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, he was a reliever manager Don Mattingly opted against using.
League’s results in 2014 have been markedly better and he’s worked himself into an option for late-game situations. The right-hander began the season pitching primarily in the fifth and sixth innings of games and has gradually made more seventh and eighth-inning appearances.
With the Dodgers carrying an abundance of experienced relievers, League discussed some of the uncertainty that’s come with it, via J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News Group:
In any normal bullpen, when you don’t have guys with a minimum time of six, seven years in the big leagues, the only guy who knows his role is the closer,” League said. “Everyone else, it’s a free-for-all.
League also added he’s prepared himself to be available starting in the fifth inning:
From last year on, I kind of got myself ready from the fifth inning on.”
The former closer was last used in the fifth inning on May 17 during a shellacking at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since that point, League has entered in the seventh inning or later in each of his appearances.
In 47 games pitched, League has a 2.36 ERA, which is much lower than the 5.30 ERA he had in 58 games last season. During one stretch, League didn’t allow an earned run in eight consecutive appearances.
Including pitching in Thursday’s win, League is in the midst of five relief outings without allowing a run. His last rough outing came against the Chicago Cubs when he inherited a difficult situation and allowed three runs to get across.
League is under contract for $7.5 million next season and has a vesting option for 2016.
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