Seemingly every season across Major League Baseball a player who signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp tends to make the roster out of Spring Training. It may not necessarily be commonplace, but it certainly isn’t unheard of.
Chone Figgins and Justin Turner accomplishing the feat last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers are two examples. However, for a player — a pitcher nonetheless — to make the roster after last appearing in the Majors eight seasons ago, is unheard of.
That’s what Chin-hui Tsao is attempting to achieve and his early results are promising. Tsao, 33, appeared in his second Cactus League game on Sunday and was perfect in 1.2 innings. Manager Don Mattingly complimented Tsao following the Dodgers’ win over the Mariners, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
His stuff is good,” said Mattingly. “I kind of left him in there for a shot at Cano and those guys. He’s been interesting to watch.”
Mattingly wasn’t alone in praising Tsao, as Yasmani Grandal also spoke in high regard of him:
First time I ever saw him,” said catcher Yasmani Grandal. “He gives me a lot of options. He has a back-door breaking ball. And I didn’t know he threw that hard.”
Tsao has thrown a combined 4.1 innings in his two relief appearances, and only allowed one hit to go with five strikeouts. At one point Sunday, the radar gun clocked Tsao at 96 mph. Tsao’s last stint in the Majors was with the Dodgers in 2007 when he appeared in 21 games and had a 4.38 ERA.
While a spot on the roster is far from guaranteed, Tsao will be difficult to ignore should he continue to pitch well. As a right-hander capable of lighting up the radar gun, he would give the Dodgers another late-game option, which the club figures to need in the wake of Kenley Jansen’s surgery and Brandon League’s ongoing shoulder discomfort.
Paco Rodriguez Working On Mechanics