"It wasn't easy to tell Travis," said manager Joe Torre, as the Dodgers needed a fresh arm after burning through most of the bullpen in the 14-inning win over Arizona.
Schlichting wasn't surprised. In fact, he knew it was a possibility before he left Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. He threw four innings and 60 pitches, making him unavailable for several days, and he could be optioned out without the risk of losing him to another club. He repeated Thursday what he said Wednesday in anticipation of a possible move -- than he was OK with it.
"I'm just happy I got the opportunity to pitch in a game situation," said the rookie. "They didn't have to explain. I'm disappointed to be going down, but I understand why it happened. They need the arms."
Torre said Haeger, who served three weeks on the disabled list with what was described as a couple of foot ailments, was activated "more out of necessity than me wanting to." Haeger will be the long reliever, although Torre said the club still wants another look at the knuckleballer as a starter.
As for Schlichting, he figures to be returning soon. And it's been quite a ride. He was drafted in the fourth round as an infielder by Tampa Bay and given a $400,000 bonus, but was traded to the Angels, who released him when he washed out as a hitter. He took up pitching, settled for a job in independent ball and was finally signed by the Dodgers because assistant general manager Logan White remembered seeing Schlichting pitch when he was scouting his high school teammate, John Danks.
Schlichting went right to Double-A in 2008 and pitched well enough in the Arizona Fall League to be added to the 40-man roster, but showed up in Spring Training last year with a bulging disk. Although he made a two-game cameo in Los Angeles, he also missed the final two months of the season with the back issue that required three epidural injections to solve.
This spring, he was limited to two innings in Major League games while fighting the lingering effects of Gilbert's syndrome, which results in increased bilirubin levels and, in Schlichting's case, led to fatigue, nausea and a 30-pound weight loss. He was among the first group of cuts.