"His velo(city), he still has good life on the ball," said Sawyer. "In a relaxed environment, he still had good carry through the zone. And the split-change, that's his pitch and it was still there with good depth and late movement. Without knowing it was Eric Gagne, just based on catching him, it was a normal bullpen by a big league pitcher.
"It was actually an honor to catch him. I grew up watching the Padres-Dodgers rivalries. It was neat for me to say I caught Gagne. He was the most dominant closer for, what, five years?"
Manager Dave Roberts smiled and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman looked on as Gagne threw in preparation for his pitching role with Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic next month, four years after he served as the pitching coach for France in the 2013 Classic. He will continue training by throwing bullpen sessions when he's not working with Dodgers pitchers.
Gagne's representative, Scott Leventhal, said Gagne has either thrown or will throw for multiple teams this month and is willing to throw on back-to-back days to satisfy concerns about his durability. Leventhal said Gagne was clocked at 93-95 mph when he pitched five innings in a Can-Am League Game last September.
The 2003 National League Cy Young Award winner hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2008 with Milwaukee and hasn't been in a camp as a player since 2010 with the Dodgers. That's when he asked for his release after being assigned to Minor League camp as he showed the effects of two elbow operations, back surgery and shoulder problems.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.