Oeltjen Can Go Home Again
LOS ANGELES Trent Oeltjen
knows time is not on his side. At 28, he's no longer a prospect. But with just 93 major league at-bats in his career, he's hardly a veteran either.
So last winter Oeltjen went home to work on his game, which might not sound like a news flash until you consider that home for Oeltjen is Sydney, Australia.
Baseball returned to Australia after a 12-year hiatus with the Australian Baseball League, which is supported by Major League Baseball. The new league allowed Oeltjen—and others, such as Angels righthander Rich Thompson
—to play at home for the first time in their professional careers.
"In the past we've had to go to Mexico or Venezuela. While we're in America, we're away from our family and friends," Oeltjen said. "So it's just so much better to be able to play competitive baseball and be at home with our family and friends. It really helps out baseball in Australia."
Oeltjen signed with the Twins in 2001 and became the 24th of 25 Australians to reach the majors when he debuted with the Diamondbacks in 2009. He had a 14-game September trial with the Dodgers last year and came to spring training to battle for a spot as a backup outfielder. But despite a strong spring—Oeltjen batted .357/.419/.536 in 24 games—he was among the last players sent back to Triple-A Albuquerque.
• The Dodgers were not amused by a blogger's April Fools' Day post which reported that top draft pick Zach Lee
had decided to quit baseball and return to Louisiana State to play quarterback. A week later, the Dodgers had the last laugh, when Lee threw four shutout innings in his professional debut with low Class A Great Lakes.
• The Dodgers reacquired outfielder/first baseman Preston Mattingly
, the son of big league manager Don Mattingly
, after the Indians released him in early April. A supplemental first-round pick by the Dodgers in 2006, Mattingly was traded to the Indians last September after batting .232/.275/.334 in five minor league seasons.