LOS ANGELES -- World Series-winning veterans David Freese and Ryan Madson wasted no time before joining the Dodgers after their Friday acquisitions, Freese starting at first base and Madson ready for bullpen duty in Saturday night's game against the D-backs.Freese, who led off the second inning with a single in
LOS ANGELES -- World Series-winning veterans David Freese and Ryan Madson wasted no time before joining the Dodgers after their Friday acquisitions, Freese starting at first base and Madson ready for bullpen duty in Saturday night's game against the D-backs.
Freese, who led off the second inning with a single in his first Dodgers at-bat, came over in a trade with Pittsburgh, and Madson was acquired from the Nationals, both as management addressed two areas of concern in time for the players to be eligible for the postseason.
Freese will be the first baseman against left-handed starters, spell Justin Turner at third base and be a right-handed bench bat. Madson will pitch high-leverage innings in a bullpen sorely lacking his kind of postseason success.
Freese said he's been told his role will be much as it was with the Pirates. He's also impressed with the Dodgers' talent.
"Man, I walked in and it kind of felt like an All-Star Game, to be honest," said the 35-year-old. "I'm just trying to be me, that's the easiest thing. If I try to be like these other guys, it's not going to go very well."
The 38-year-old Madson came off the disabled list last week and said his lower back is healed from a flare-up a month ago. He said he's open to any role and suggestions from the staff on how he can improve.
"I don't care when he pitches me. I just want to come in and get some big outs," said Madson. "I'm just looking to fit in. Everything feels normal."
Management is hoping Madson stands out. Despite a 5.28 ERA and his highest home run frequency in 12 years, he still throws in the mid-90s, and manager Dave Roberts said strategic matchups and pitch sequencing might increase the right-hander's effectiveness.
"I'm not here to be the savior; I'm here to join and help out," Madson said. "I can't imagine a young player doing this right now. It's a little intimidating. I've played with superstars and just left a team of superstars."
With closer Kenley Jansen's recent struggles, the fact that Madson has two seasons of 30-plus saves made him additionally appealing. He doesn't shy away from the pressure of high-leverage assignments.
"It definitely is exciting. It's a special feeling, holding a lead," he said. "For a playoff-contending team, the emotions are heightened. It's a rush you can't get anywhere else off the field. Looking forward to doing it again this playoff push."
Madson's acquisition was prompted by the slow recoveries of injured pitchers Daniel Hudson, Tony Cingrani, John Axford, JT Chargois, Tom Koehler, Dennis Santana, Erik Goeddel, Thomas Stripling and Julio Urias.
Rosters expand for September
• There were no surprises from the Dodgers when rosters expanded on Saturday. In addition to adding Freese and Madson, the Dodgers recalled outfielders Alex Verdugo, Alvin Toles and Tim Locastro and catcher James Farmer from Triple-A Oklahoma City and activated infielder Chase Utley and reliever Zachary Rosscup from the DL.
Roberts said third catcher Rocky Gale might be added on Sunday, but there will be fewer in the clubhouse than last September's 40.
The manager also reiterated that the callups will "essentially help support the guys that are already here." In other words, neither Verdugo nor Toles will supplant a current starting outfielder, although Roberts left open the possibility of earned additional opportunities.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.