League’s time at closer didn’t last long and he was relegated to a lesser role by June following a a series of ineffective outings and blown saves. The 30-year-old was often welcomed by a series of boos at Dodger Stadium and ended the year pitching in mop-up duty.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, League has a different mindset and focus in store for the 2014 season:
It’s a new season, whether you’re World Series champs, made the playoffs or not, League said. It’s always a fresh start for everyone.
League comes into spring training fighting for a spot in an overcrowded bullpen. This off-season, the Dodgers signed right-handers Jamey Wright and Chris Perez and also re-signed left-hander J.P. Howell and fan favorite Brian Wilson. League must shake off the memories from 2013 when he finished with a 5.30 ERA and just 28 strikeouts in 54.1 innings. The right-hander will be battling for one of the final bullpen spots with Paco Rodriguez, Chris Withrow, Javy Guerra, Jose Dominguez and Seth Rosin.
Asked what the problem was last season, League gave his answer via Hernandez:
It was not just one thing, he said. It was not just mechanical. It wasn’t just preparation. It was one thing one time, something else another time.
With an improved League, the Dodgers could have one of the strongest bullpens in all of baseball with four pitchers having closing experience. It’s unlikely that League will regain the closer role this season, but could become a trustworthy arm out of the bullpen that manager Don Mattingly can use in key situations.
It would be a nice redemption story for League to prove worthy of being used and it would go a long way in helping the Dodgers take the next step forward.
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