Withrow relishing new opportunity in bullpen

Withrow relishing new opportunity in bullpen

Withrow relishing new opportunity in bullpen

MIAMI -- A first-round Draft pick earmarked to be an ace starting pitcher, maybe the last place Chris Withrow expected to make a mark in the Major Leagues was as a relief specialist for pitching out of jams.

But that's what he is in the Dodgers current bullpen, with a 2.25 ERA in 16 appearances..

"I definitely agree with that," said Withrow, who languished in the Minor League system for 6 ½ seasons years before his first callup June 11. "As a starter, I was up and down. But as a reliever, I got with Chuck [Crim, current bullpen coach] and learned a new mentality of going in and attacking."

Throughout his starting career, the hard-throwing Withrow was dogged by wildness and an inability to retain his stuff late in games. He made the transition to the bullpen last year.

"I never looked at it like a demotion, that's a negative way to look at it," he said. "I took it as a challenge, to see if I can do this. Guys have had successful careers and made this move."

He said that as a starter, he "was so caught up in trying to make perfect pitches. Chuck helped me simplify things, attack the zone and make the hitter hit my pitch."

His theory on why he's been able to strand all nine runners he's inherited?

"Maybe I put myself in so many sticky situations that I maybe gained confidence that I was capable of getting out of them," he said. "When I do come in, I always know I'm one pitch from a double-play ball."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.