Meloan Is Making His Move

Back in 2002 the Dodgers had several scouts in Houston watching a duel between two pitchers . Both did well, so, not surprisingly, they liked them both. While there was certainly nothing the matter with the arm of one, they liked his bat even better so they drafted him. That was James Loney.

The other, well, though he had physical tools, his command was so erratic, the decided to pass but kept him in mind. He went to college, smoothed matters out so in 2005 they drafted him too. That was Jon Meloan.

Now Loney's back up in the big leagues and it's beginning to look like he's there to stay this time. While Meloan doesn't exactly have lost time to make up for his college career at the University of Arizona polished him up quite a bit

He's still behind James in experience. He's making strides, though for he was recently promoted to Jacksonville.

That means in the space of a year, he's moved from rookie ball to AA which is commendable. "We feel he's old enough that he can handle it," said Terry Collins, the director of player development, when he made the decision. So Jon was jumped past some others who might have been pulled up.

It's certainly a nice change for the pitcher because, in the spring, he developed some muscular inflammation that threatened to slow him down considerably.

The plan had been to move him from Ogden, where he pitched last year, to Vero Beach but the ailment forced him to remain behind in the extended camp instead.

He was frustrated but he worked hard, got better so was finally sent out to play- but to Columbus, not Vero and as a reliever, not the starter he'd always been. He had some flareups of the problem while with the Catfish but overcame those and showed that he was back in form.

That moved him up to Vero where, again, he toiled out of the bullpen until it was felt he could be stretched out enough to become a starter. There he prospered, hence the move to Jacksonville.

Meloan throws a fast ball that reaches into the 90's but his best pitch is a hammer curve that he loves to polish batters off with. One of his better assets, though- maybe, his best- is an unwillingness to give in. He's a man with the mindset of a warrior.

He worked his first two innings for the Suns last night and did just fine, not allowing any runs. He's back in relief for the time being but that could change depending on the circumstances down the road.

He's a solid 6-3, 225-pounder who had his 22nd birthday last month. In that time, he's developed the mound presence that the Dodgers felt he needed back when they saw him in Houston.

And at the rate he's going, the time may well come when he and Loney become teammates in Dodger uniforms.

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