PHOENIX -- It was just like old times, except, not exactly. It was Eric Gagne on the mound, Guns N' Roses on the stadium public-address system, a standing ovation from much of the crowd. On the other hand, there were the two earned runs he allowed the Chicago White Sox in his first inning back with the Dodgers on Saturday. Gagne, though, came out of his return better than his ERA of 18.00 looked.
"It was fun, a lot of fun. I was nervous. It's been a while since I pitched at that level," said Gagne, who was in independent ball last year recovering from shoulder woes. "I was really good in the bullpen. I felt good physically, but the adrenaline was going and I was a little off mechanically. I heard the fans. It was great to be back." Gagne allowed a seeing-eye single leading off the eighth inning, got two outs, then allowed an RBI double down the first-base line to Jared Mitchell and an RBI single to right by Stefan Gartrell. "Sometimes you can't control that," he said. "I got my legs under me. I'll work on my mechanics. I made some good pitches. No walks. Sometimes you feel good with bad results. Getting the first one out of the way was big. I know how my body reacts, and I felt good. Just need a little adjustment." Manager Joe Torre put an upbeat spin on Gagne's outing. "He threw a lot of strikes and got a lot of ground balls," Torre said. Gagne the Cy Young Award-winning closer would never have appeared in the second exhibition game of the spring. This Gagne is in camp on a Minor League contract. "When you've got to win a spot, it's a big difference," he said. "Before, I was just getting ready for the season. I was telling [current closer Jonathan] Broxton, he doesn't need to be 100 percent yet. I've got to make the team."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.