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Chargois alters delivery after latest elbow issue

Claimed off waivers from Twins, LA reliever throws first 'pen session
Special to MLB.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Having spent more time on the mend than on the mound over the past five years, newly signed Dodgers right-hander J.T. Chargois said he was already counting his blessings Monday, when he threw his first bullpen session since being claimed off waivers Friday.

Chargois, 27, was a top prospect for the Twins when they drafted him in the second round in 2012, but he soon fell victim to arm troubles. He had Tommy John surgery in '13, missed '14 as he recovered and, after healthy '15 and '16 seasons, was limited to two Minor League appearances in '17 as he dealt with more elbow problems.

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Having spent more time on the mend than on the mound over the past five years, newly signed Dodgers right-hander J.T. Chargois said he was already counting his blessings Monday, when he threw his first bullpen session since being claimed off waivers Friday.

Chargois, 27, was a top prospect for the Twins when they drafted him in the second round in 2012, but he soon fell victim to arm troubles. He had Tommy John surgery in '13, missed '14 as he recovered and, after healthy '15 and '16 seasons, was limited to two Minor League appearances in '17 as he dealt with more elbow problems.

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Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

Chargois avoided surgery, but had to make mechanical changes to his delivery to mitigate the force his 100-mph fastball was exerting on his arm.

"I was kind of a violent thrower to begin with," Chargois said Monday. "It really started with my upper half and kind of a jerking motion with my shoulders. My arm was the thing that was accelerating the throw and my arm was the thing that was decelerating the throw. As much as I thought I was using my legs before, I realized that come on, you're breaking down this much and there's nothing deficiently wrong with you, so it's mechanical."

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Chargois averaged 96.2 mph on his fastball in 2016, when he compiled a 4.70 ERA over 25 innings for Minnesota, including a 0.79 ERA in his final 13 appearances as a rookie.

"He's got a big arm," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "It really comes out at a lower slot, but the ball has life."

No hurry for Jansen

Closer Kenley Jansen's heavy workload last season added up to 85 innings -- 16 2/3 in the postseason -- and thus the Dodgers intend to keep him fresh during Spring Training. Roberts said Jansen will probably pitch sparingly in official Cactus League games, instead getting most of his work in Minor League games and batting practice.

"I wouldn't see him getting in more than two games," Roberts said. "He'll probably do some more stuff on the back field. For Kenley, it's just more, he knows himself better than anybody. If he feels good, it doesn't matter where he's pitching."

Video: Jansen on Spring Training plan to limit workload

Roberts does plan on using Jansen in multiple innings again this year; the right-hander did that five times in the postseason and seven times in the regular season in 2017. Roberts said four or five times in the regular season would be OK again.

"I think that's still reasonable for Kenley," Roberts said.

Taylor starts at short

Chris Taylor started at shortstop in Monday's 9-6 win over the Rangers as Roberts wants to be sure his club has enough options up the middle if injuries cause a need. Corey Seager is dealing with elbow soreness and won't play the field this spring, so Taylor could see more time at short. He started 10 games at shortstop last season and 93 in the outfield along with a total of 22 starts at second and third.

Taylor hit .288/.354/.496 in 140 games last season, with 21 homers and 72 RBIs in a breakout performance after limited roles in 2014-16 campaigns with Seattle and Los Angeles. Roberts expects another year like '17.

Video: Chris Taylor is the No. 8 center fielder right now

"I can't predict how the numbers ultimately are going to be," Roberts said, "but I know that where he's at mentally, physically, mechanically, that'll play, and it'll be somewhat comparable to last season."

New catcher arrives

Catcher Rocky Gale joined the Dodgers on Monday, a day after Los Angeles signed the 30-year-old former Padre to a Minor League contract. He appeared in 14 games with San Diego, including 11 in 2015 and three last season. He posted a .278/.328/.365 slash line in 103 games with Triple-A El Paso last season. Backstops Yasmani Grandal, Austin Barnes and Kyle Farmer are already on the 40-man roster, so Gale could provide Triple-A depth again this year.

"He receives well, so we'll see kind of how it all plays out, but it's good to have him here," Roberts said.

Up next

Right-hander Kenta Maeda will make his Cactus League debut for the Dodgers as they return to Camelback Ranch to face the Rangers again at 12:05 p.m. PT on Tuesday. Maeda was 13-6 with a 4.22 ERA in 29 appearances and 25 starts last season. Lefty Jesse Chavez will start for Texas.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com.

Los Angeles Dodgers, J.T. Chargois, Kenley Jansen, Chris Taylor