Megrew's Back And Ready To Roll

It would seem that the return of a player selected in the Rule 5 draft is often one of little note - certainly, not as much as when he was first chosen. Thus it is that the occasion of the Florida Marlins offering Mike Megrew back to the Dodgers was one of minor significance to most but one that brought smiles and sighs of relief to L.A. officials, nonethheless.

The lefthander Megrew had been left up-for-grabs when the Dodgers declined to protect him on the 40-man roster this past off-season. He had been one of the more prized prospects until Tommy Johnj surgery had rendered him virtually useless in 2004, a year in which, as a rehab, he managed only an 0-2 record for Vero Beach with a horrendous 20.25 ERA.

That, thought some Dodger brass, ought to scare more people off than a Stephen King story. Wrong, for the Marlins were in a move to gamble and, remembering his former promise, went for him in the annual December lottery of such unprotected minor leaguers.

However, this spring, despite some good marks scored with manager Joe Girardi, the Marlins found Megew was still unready so used him only in one exhibition, then placed him on the disabled list. This past week, though, desiring to send him to the minors, they had first to offer him back to the Dodgers who promoptly reclaimed him.

So, now , Megrew is once again, wearing a Dodger uniform albeit in the extended camp. But, he's progressing well and is now throwing bullpen sessions. "I threw one yesterday," he reported Friday. "The main thing is my arm, doesn't hurt at all.

"Now, I'm just trying to build strength again. They want me to throw at least one more 'pen to be sure, then make a start here (in the extended camp). Then, I think I'll get to pitch for Vero Beach and, if I do well there, move up to Jacksonville."

That would put Megrew right on track in his comeback, if so. He's a 22-year-old 6-6 lefty who has always been known as a pitcher who throws one of the more advanced changeups in the system. His fast ball tops out in the low 90's and his slider has a good bite to it. Most importanly, he has an excellent feel for his craft.

His stay in the Marlins camp was enjoyable, he says, but he's not at all sorry to be back in the Dodger organization. Now, he says he's "getting to know some of the younger guys in the extended camp. They're really good guys and we're having fun."

Most of his fun is caused by the fact that he's feeling better than he has in some time and primed to resume his career. Which gives the Dodgers moments of gladness as well.