Carlos Monasterios Headed to the Bullpen

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dd88
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Personally I'd give him another start- I'm not sure Padilla is ready yet....


Carlos Monasterios' stay in the rotation came with a measure of luck -- for both him and the Dodgers.

Monasterios' start on Sunday was likely his last, for now anyway, and it was also his worst. The rookie right-hander allowed up four runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Angels as the Dodgers, unsuccessfully, tried to avoid being swept at home by the Halos for the first time.

Monasterios was mostly a placeholder for a team that ran out of other options. The injured Vicente Padilla threw 5 2/3 innings for Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday, and is scheduled to return to the rotation on Saturday in Boston. Dodgers manager Joe Torre did not definitively say Monasterios would return to the bullpen instead, of, say, fellow rookie John Ely, who has turned in two consecutive subpar outings, but Torre made his preference pretty clear.

"Ely has been pitching as a starter all year, even though he's been at the Minor League level, and Monasterios has worked out of the bullpen for us," Torre said. "He has a short history of [relieving] but at least it's been a positive."

The five starts Monasterios made were mostly positive too: He was 3-0 before taking his first loss on Sunday. His ERA as a starter entering Sunday was 2.70, and he entered holding the Nos. 2 through 5 hitters in opposing lineups to a .174 average.

One of the most bright-eyed and energetic Dodgers, Monasterios said his best moment came in his second-to-last start, against the Cardinals on June 7, when he went a career-high six innings and held Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols to a combined 0-for-6.

"Absolutely not," Monasterios said when asked if he feared Pujols. "Why should I?"

Well, there might have been reason to, by some statistics. Monasterios is averaging four strikeouts per nine innings in his 16 combined outings, more than two strikeouts fewer than the starter with the next lowest average, Hiroki Kuroda. The number of balls in play that fell in for hits against Monasterios was also much fewer than for other Dodgers pitchers -- perhaps an indicator of some luck.

It adds up to a pitcher whose standard numbers: his record, his ERA (2.98 in 42 1/3 innings on the season), might not have entirely reflected how he pitched. But it's also a very small sample size, and Monasterios had pitched just two games above Class A before this season, so any success for the 24-year-old is remarkable.

"Whatever the numbers say, it still comes down to watching the game," Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. "The strikeouts are not there, but it comes down to improvement and improvement of his breaking pitches."

Honeycutt says Monasterios' breaking pitches in particular have come along, with his curveball slightly better than his slider at the present. Monasterios can throw in the low 90s, and Torre and Honeycutt see him, at some point, as a starter.

"Very much so," Monasterios says when asked if he wants to spend his career in the rotation.

But Monasterios may very well have still been in the Minor Leagues this season if he wasn't a Rule 5 Draft pick. The Dodgers requested the Mets to take Monasterios in the Rule 5 Draft before trading him to the Dodgers for cash in an arranged deal. The Dodgers have to keep Monasterios on their 25-man roster for the entirety of the season, or risk losing him.

"When this season started we didn't know what we were going to get from him," Torre said. "We were trying to basically protect him, because we thought in the future this kid was going to be a plus. So it turns out that you know we've certainly gotten more and relied on him more than we anticipated we would at this point in the season."

There was a cadre of arms assembled in Spring Training this season, intended to provide enough depth that Monasterios would not have to enter the picture. There was Eric Stults, whose contract was sold to a Japanese team. There was Charlie Haeger, who has been mostly hurt and a disappointment when healthy. There was Russ Ortiz and Ramon Ortiz, Josh Lindblom and Josh Towers. James McDonald didn't make the cut and is now out with a strained hamstring, and Scott Elbert was recently given a leave of absence from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Outside the organization, the Dodgers couldn't land Roy Halladay, and they neither re-signed Randy Wolf nor signed Joel Pineiro, who landed in Anaheim and threw a complete game against the Dodgers on Friday night.

All those options, and the Dodgers have been forced to count on not only Monasterios, but Ely, who has shown his green side lately. The pair lost consecutive games to the Angels on Saturday and Sunday.

"Two starts, the two kids, you can't say you're disappointed because this is their first time through this," Torre said. "You don't want to put the onus of responsibility on their shoulders. That's not the right thing to do."

That's what the Dodgers have done, though. And so far, with some luck, it's worked out. ' stay in the rotation came with a measure of luck -- for both him and the Dodgers.

Monasterios' start on Sunday was likely his last, for now anyway, and it was also his worst. The rookie right-hander allowed up four runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Angels as the Dodgers, unsuccessfully, tried to avoid being swept at home by the Halos for the first time.

Monasterios was mostly a placeholder for a team that ran out of other options. The injured Vicente Padilla threw 5 2/3 innings for Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday, and is scheduled to return to the rotation on Saturday in Boston. Dodgers manager Joe Torre did not definitively say Monasterios would return to the bullpen instead, of, say, fellow rookie John Ely, who has turned in two consecutive subpar outings, but Torre made his preference pretty clear.

"Ely has been pitching as a starter all year, even though he's been at the Minor League level, and Monasterios has worked out of the bullpen for us," Torre said. "He has a short history of [relieving] but at least it's been a positive."

The five starts Monasterios made were mostly positive too: He was 3-0 before taking his first loss on Sunday. His ERA as a starter entering Sunday was 2.70, and he entered holding the Nos. 2 through 5 hitters in opposing lineups to a .174 average.

One of the most bright-eyed and energetic Dodgers, Monasterios said his best moment came in his second-to-last start, against the Cardinals on June 7, when he went a career-high six innings and held Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols to a combined 0-for-6.

"Absolutely not," Monasterios said when asked if he feared Pujols. "Why should I?"

Well, there might have been reason to, by some statistics. Monasterios is averaging four strikeouts per nine innings in his 16 combined outings, more than two strikeouts fewer than the starter with the next lowest average, Hiroki Kuroda. The number of balls in play that fell in for hits against Monasterios was also much fewer than for other Dodgers pitchers -- perhaps an indicator of some luck.

It adds up to a pitcher whose standard numbers: his record, his ERA (2.98 in 42 1/3 innings on the season), might not have entirely reflected how he pitched. But it's also a very small sample size, and Monasterios had pitched just two games above Class A before this season, so any success for the 24-year-old is remarkable.

"Whatever the numbers say, it still comes down to watching the game," Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. "The strikeouts are not there, but it comes down to improvement and improvement of his breaking pitches."

Honeycutt says Monasterios' breaking pitches in particular have come along, with his curveball slightly better than his slider at the present. Monasterios can throw in the low 90s, and Torre and Honeycutt see him, at some point, as a starter.

"Very much so," Monasterios says when asked if he wants to spend his career in the rotation.

But Monasterios may very well have still been in the Minor Leagues this season if he wasn't a Rule 5 Draft pick. The Dodgers requested the Mets to take Monasterios in the Rule 5 Draft before trading him to the Dodgers for cash in an arranged deal. The Dodgers have to keep Monasterios on their 25-man roster for the entirety of the season, or risk losing him.

"When this season started we didn't know what we were going to get from him," Torre said. "We were trying to basically protect him, because we thought in the future this kid was going to be a plus. So it turns out that you know we've certainly gotten more and relied on him more than we anticipated we would at this point in the season."

There was a cadre of arms assembled in Spring Training this season, intended to provide enough depth that Monasterios would not have to enter the picture. There was Eric Stults, whose contract was sold to a Japanese team. There was Charlie Haeger, who has been mostly hurt and a disappointment when healthy. There was Russ Ortiz and Ramon Ortiz, Josh Lindblom and Josh Towers. James McDonald didn't make the cut and is now out with a strained hamstring, and Scott Elbert was recently given a leave of absence from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Outside the organization, the Dodgers couldn't land Roy Halladay, and they neither re-signed Randy Wolf nor signed Joel Pineiro, who landed in Anaheim and threw a complete game against the Dodgers on Friday night.

All those options, and the Dodgers have been forced to count on not only Monasterios, but Ely, who has shown his green side lately. The pair lost consecutive games to the Angels on Saturday and Sunday.

"Two starts, the two kids, you can't say you're disappointed because this is their first time through this," Torre said. "You don't want to put the onus of responsibility on their shoulders. That's not the right thing to do."

That's what the Dodgers have done, though. And so far, with some luck, it's worked out.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd ... mp;c_id=la


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