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Mitchell to get experience behind the plate

Mitchell to get experience behind the plate

Mitchell to get experience behind the plate
ATLANTA -- In nine professional seasons, Russell Mitchell has played every position except pitcher, catcher and center field.

Promoted to the Majors on Monday, Mitchell has been told that he might be crossing catcher off that list.

"I thought it was a joke at first," Mitchell said on Friday. "But after I saw [manager Don Mattingly's] comments, I told him my chips are all in. Whatever they want me to do."

Mitchell, primarily a corner infielder, will catch bullpen sessions in September and work on receiving and blocking balls in the dirt. He's not being converted entirely, just being given a chance to make himself a little more valuable as a utility man.

Mitchell will continue to work on catching in the Arizona Fall League. And though he had already planned to play winter ball in Venezuela, now he will take his catcher's mitt.

"I'm ready to go," he said. "I've got all the gear. J.D. Closser gave me a glove in Spring Training. The full-court press is on."

Mitchell tried this once, in Instructional League four years ago, and remembers the challenge of blocking pitches in the dirt. Also participating in the experiment were Carlos Santana and Koyie Hill, and the two continued behind the plate. Mitchell was soon moved to third base.

Mattingly said that the Dodgers will call up a few more players from Triple-A when Albuquerque's season ends on Monday, perhaps Jerry Sands and Tim Federowicz, and a few more when Double-A Chattanooga is finished with the playoffs. Allen Webster, Shawn Tolleson and Cole St. Claire have been considered.

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