Gagne preps for Classic with bullpen session

February 19th, 2017
Eric Gagne is a guest pitching instructor for the Dodgers this spring. (Jon SooHoo/Dodgers)

PHOENIX -- Guest pitching instructor on Sunday became Team Canada pitcher Eric Gagne when he took the mound for a bullpen session with Dodgers brass watching.

Technically, it wasn't a tryout for the comeback the 41-year-old Gagne is considering, although it was pretty impressive to Wynston Sawyer, the non-roster catcher who caught him.

"His velo(city), he still has good life on the ball," said Sawyer. "In a relaxed environment, he still had good carry through the zone. And the split-change, that's his pitch and it was still there with good depth and late movement. Without knowing it was Eric Gagne, just based on catching him, it was a normal bullpen by a big league pitcher.

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

"It was actually an honor to catch him. I grew up watching the Padres-Dodgers rivalries. It was neat for me to say I caught Gagne. He was the most dominant closer for, what, five years?"

Manager Dave Roberts smiled and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman looked on as Gagne threw in preparation for his pitching role with Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic next month, four years after he served as the pitching coach for France in the 2013 Classic. He will continue training by throwing bullpen sessions when he's not working with Dodgers pitchers.

Gagne's representative, Scott Leventhal, said Gagne has either thrown or will throw for multiple teams this month and is willing to throw on back-to-back days to satisfy concerns about his durability. Leventhal said Gagne was clocked at 93-95 mph when he pitched five innings in a Can-Am League Game last September.

The 2003 National League Cy Young Award winner hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2008 with Milwaukee and hasn't been in a camp as a player since 2010 with the Dodgers. That's when he asked for his release after being assigned to Minor League camp as he showed the effects of two elbow operations, back surgery and shoulder problems.