Ketchner Signs As A Free Agent With Padres

Another once well-regarded player has been lost to the Dodgers via the minor league free agency route as lefthander Ryan Ketchner has signed with the San Diego Padres.

Ketchner came to the Dodgers in April 2004 as part of the deal that sent Jolbert Cabrera to the Mariners. He pitched for Jacksonville that season, compiling a 8-7, 3.02 mark, was named to the Southern League All-Star team and was promoted to the Dodger 40-man roster that fall.

However, an elbow injury followed by Tommy John surgery forced him to miss all of the 2005 season and he was subsequently dropped from the Dodger roster. He began his comeback this year, starting in the Gulf Coast League where he pitched three games without being scored on.

Promoted to Vero Beach, he compiled a 2-1, 1.69 record in nine games, then finished the year at Las Vegas where he worked just two innings allowing two runs. But by not brining him back up to the L.A. roster, he became eligible for free agency.

The 24-year-old has received quite a bit of attention since he is 95 percent deaf. He wears two hearing aids which allow him to detect vibrations and communicates mostly by reading lips. He has served as a role model for deaf people and is determined to make the big leagues to show how the handicap can be overcome.

If he does make it up now it won't be in a Los Angeles uniform.

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