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Wieland makes most of extended stint with Dodgers

ANAHEIM -- A week ago, Joe Wieland thought he would be in Oklahoma City with the Dodgers' Triple-A club in the Minor League playoffs, instead he was making his second start of the season in the Majors, and he did a solid job on Wednesday night in a 3-2 loss to the Angels.

Following a win against the Giants on Sept. 2, Wieland was told he would be optioned to Oklahoma City, but the club changed its mind. A week later, Wieland took the mound at Angel Stadium.

"I thought we got really good pitching from Joe Wieland," manager Don Mattingly said. "Really kept us in the game."

Wieland pitched four innings, allowing two runs on four hits and didn't factor into the decision. The 25-year-old right-hander, who was making his eighth career start, was filling in after Mat Latos was scratched with a stiff neck.

"I got a head's up I might start last night and then when I walked in the door, they told me," said Wieland, the club's No. 26 prospect.

This was a significant improvement from Wieland's first start in Dodger blue. On May 6, Wieland allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Brewers. He was pulled after 74 pitches on Wednesday. With the top of the order coming up for a third time, Mattingly decided that Wieland's day was done.

"With the off-day tomorrow, if we got in any kind of trouble getting into the lineup a third time back at the top, we were going to go with a fresh arm," Mattingly said.

While Wieland was at cruising altitude on his way to Oklahoma City last Thursday, management decided to keep him on the roster as another pitcher who could provide length. When he landed, Wieland had a text message saying to meet the team in San Diego. After a four-hour layover in Oklahoma, he got back on a plane.

The Dodgers gave him run support before he even took the mound on Wednesday, as fellow rookie Scott Schebler hit a home run on the first pitch of the game.

"I could just go and relax," Wieland said.

Having rookie catcher Austin Barnes behind the plate helped ease the nerves, as the two had been batterymates at Oklahoma City for much of the season. Wieland said he only had to shake off Barnes twice.

"It's a comfort zone for both of us," Wieland said. "He knows what I like to throw, and I know what he likes to call. It definitely was an easing feeling, knowing that we're on the same page."

Steve Bourbon is an associate reporter for
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