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De Leon proud despite rough final rookie start

Dodgers righty appreciates Major League experience
MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- This wasn't the way Jose De Leon wanted to finish his first taste of Major League Baseball.

The 24-year-old righty tossed just 2 1/3 innings during the Dodgers' 6-5 loss to the Padres on Wednesday night, after allowing five runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks. While Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts has yet to finalize postseason pitching plans, it seems unlikely that De Leon will factor into them after his last two outings.

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SAN DIEGO -- This wasn't the way Jose De Leon wanted to finish his first taste of Major League Baseball.

The 24-year-old righty tossed just 2 1/3 innings during the Dodgers' 6-5 loss to the Padres on Wednesday night, after allowing five runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks. While Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts has yet to finalize postseason pitching plans, it seems unlikely that De Leon will factor into them after his last two outings.

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"I think that with Jose, I think that it was an outside shot anyway," Roberts said. "But nothing is definitive. We haven't made any definitive decisions, but obviously his last two turns haven't been what he would have expected.

"And even if it doesn't happen, it's not a knock on him at all. Because like I said, this has been a positive season for Jose."

Roberts said that the growth and experience that comes with pitching big league games during a pennant race would help De Leon in the future. Standing at his locker after the shortest outing of his brief Major League career, De Leon agreed.

"It's been a great year, even though [I'm] finishing not the way I wanted to," he said. "But I'm grateful for the opportunity and I'm living my dream."

De Leon spent most of the 2016 season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he posted a 2.61 ERA over 16 starts and 86 1/3 innings. The Dodgers No. 2 overall prospect managed that production despite missing time with an ankle injury and shoulder inflammation.

His success in the Minors was rewarded this season with a promotion to the big league club, which De Leon admitted was surprising.

"Honestly, I didn't think that was going to happen this fast," he said.

Injuries to the Dodgers' pitching staff certainly helped his cause, but Roberts said after De Leon's start -- which is likely his last of the year -- that he deserved this late-season look.

"Jose pitched really well in Triple-A and earned an opportunity here," he said. "So with that, he did some good things… [got] Major League experience, but also [played] in a situation where we are in a pennant race. He sees the intensity and focus of hitters, and what it takes to pitch consistently at a high level.

"There's definitely a learning curve, but for him, hopefully he doesn't read too much into the numbers, because I think that all-in-all, it was a positive. It should be a positive experience for him."

De Leon's 6.35 ERA after his first 17 innings in the Majors certainly don't paint that picture of positivity, but even with a bit of a sour taste in his mouth, De Leon said his experience this season will help him moving forward.

"Absolutely," he said. "It's been a blessing, and I'll report to Spring Training next year with confidence and knowing that I already pitched here. … Just keep working hard and hopefully next year everything will be better."

Carlos Collazo is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @CarlosACollazo.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Jose De Leon