Instant Impression

Dodgers' Withrow opened eyes from the first day of camp

GLENDALE, Ariz.—Chris Withrow didn't wait long to make an impression, using his first game of the spring to open the eyes of Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt.

Withrow, a 2007 first-round pick with only limited spring training work under his belt, went out against the Rangers on March 14 and struck out the side in his only inning of work.

It's not like the righthander doesn't have a few wrinkles to iron out. He did hit a batter and throw a wild pitch in his first appearance in a big league spring training game.

"What's not to like with that inning?" Honeycutt said. "I hadn't seen him at all other than on tape. He told me that other than batting practice, he hadn't even thrown to live hitters this spring, but that was pretty impressive for a guy who hadn't thrown more than a couple of bullpen sessions."

In his second outing, it was more of the same. Against the Padres, the 20-year-old Withrow retired all three batters he faced, striking out two.

The pace finally seems to be picking up for the Texas native, who had bouts of shoulder tendinitis and elbow tenderness that slowed his first two years in the organization. He pitched in just six games in the Dodgers system in 2007 and just four in 2008.

Withrow was healthy last season, but the Dodgers played it as safe as possible. In 22 starts between high Class A Inland Empire and Double-A Chattanooga, he went past the fifth inning just once. He finished a combined 8-8, 4.51 with 131 strikeouts (second-most in the system) and 57 walks in 114 innings.

In January, Withrow was invited to a minicamp at Dodger Stadium for the organization's top prospects. It was there that he worked with catcher A.J. Ellis, who also caught Withrow in the March 14 game.

"He is special," Ellis said. "That's just a different kind of baseball coming out of his hand from what everybody else throws, and he seems like a good kid with a good work ethic."


Brian Cavazos-Galvez, 22, had an impressive first at-bat with the major league team, hitting a towering Cactus League home run. The 2009 12th-round pick out of New Mexico was named the Rookie-Level Pioneer League MVP last summer with 18 home runs and 63 RBIs in 71 games.

• A year after breaking his leg in spring training, Ivan DeJesus Jr., 22, is doing a good job of making up for lost time. Just before the non-roster invitee was optioned back to the minor league side, he was 2-for-6 with three walks and played solid defense. But he was thrown out in both of his stolen base attempts.