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Withrow won't be under the radar for long

Special to MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- Chris Withrow doesn't get mentioned as a closer possibility yet in the deep back end of the Dodgers' bullpen, where Kenley Jansen, Chris Perez, Brian Wilson and Brandon League have done it at the Major League level.

And that's how Withrow likes it, for now. The young Dodgers right-hander said he'd prefer to "sneak up on people."

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LOS ANGELES -- Chris Withrow doesn't get mentioned as a closer possibility yet in the deep back end of the Dodgers' bullpen, where Kenley Jansen, Chris Perez, Brian Wilson and Brandon League have done it at the Major League level.

And that's how Withrow likes it, for now. The young Dodgers right-hander said he'd prefer to "sneak up on people."

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The way he's begun his second Major League season, though, the secret will get out quick.

"He can and will be a closer once he matures as a Major League pitcher," said bullpen coach Chuck Crim, who was Withrow's pitching coach for his last two years in Double-A. "No question his stuff plays."

As manager Don Mattingly said: "It's back-end, late-in-the-game stuff, pretty much lights out."

In his first five outings, Withrow, 24, has given up one hit and walked one in six innings while striking out nine -- including Sunday's magical seventh against the Giants, when he struck out the side on 10 pitches.

"This is not going to happen every night," Withrow said. "I understand everything is not going to be this easy. But every time I go out there, I'm just trying to execute every pitch."

After starting his first five pro seasons, the Dodgers' 2007 first-round pick was converted to relief in 2012, his third full season at Double-A Chattanooga.

"I feel more comfortable out of the bullpen," Withrow said. "I think my mentality is better from the bullpen."

Crim said Withrow "took to it right away. He's a guy who probably thought too much when he started games. Out of the bullpen, he was able to go out and attack."

Gone are the days when, as a starter, he said he would sometimes try to pace himself and hold something back so he could go deep into games.

Withrow made his big league debut in 2013, striking out 43 in 34 2/3 innings with a 2.60 ERA and a .165 opponents average in 26 games. He got his first save Sept. 3 against Colorado.

Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Chris Withrow