LOS ANGELES -- With set-up man Joe Blanton a free agent, the Dodgers on Wednesday signed right-hander Brandon Morrow to a Minor League contract, with an invitation to Major League Spring Training and a chance to win a bullpen job, according to a baseball source.The club has not confirmed the
LOS ANGELES -- With set-up man Joe Blanton a free agent, the Dodgers on Wednesday signed right-hander Brandon Morrow to a Minor League contract, with an invitation to Major League Spring Training and a chance to win a bullpen job, according to a baseball source.
The club has not confirmed the deal.
The Dodgers don't have an established set-up man on their current roster, but they have a handful of right-handed relievers -- Pedro Baez, Chris Hatcher, Josh Fields, Josh Ravin and Jacob Rhame. Young starters Thomas Stripling and Brock Stewart also can pitch out of the bullpen.
From the left side, the Dodgers are deep, with Luis Avilan, Grant Dayton, Vidal Nuno, Adam Liberatore and Alex Wood (if he doesn't start) vying for jobs.
Hatcher, and then Baez, were expected to set up for closer Kenley Jansen last year, but Blanton inherited the job and exceeded expectations, until he was knocked around by the Cubs in the National League Championship Series.
Hatcher's season ended early with a bad oblique tear, and Ravin's season was a rough one, first because of a broken non-throwing arm suffered in a Spring Training car accident, then a 50-game suspension for violating MLB's drug policy. In a late callup, he was lights-out with a 0.93 ERA in 10 appearances.
Morrow, 32, returned last August from a year of rehab for shoulder surgery, pitching 18 games in relief for San Diego with a 1.69 ERA, but only eight strikeouts in 16 innings. Although he began his Major League career in the bullpen, he was a double-digit winner in three consecutive seasons as a starter for the Blue Jays from 2010-12.
Morrow was drafted by Seattle two picks ahead of Clayton Kershaw in 2006, but his career has been hampered by shoulder, forearm, elbow, hand and oblique injuries.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.