It's All in the Family

Bryan Morris and Brandon Tuten used to be teammates; in the future they will become relatives. Right now they are together at Dodgertown- well, sort of. In 2006 the pair were pitchers on the staff of Motlow Community College in Tennessee. To make matters even cozier there, Morris' father was the pitching coach.

It's also where Tuten met Morris' sister and now that particular twosome became engaged. After that, the two pitchers took separate paths- for awhile.

Morris was the big name a much-sought-after pitcher whom the Dodgers were able to get with their second selection in the first round of the 2006 draft. They had grabbed Clayton Kershaw with their own choice, the seventh overall. Morris was the 20th overall, coming with a choice obtained when the Angels signed Jeff Weaver.

He pitched at Ogden where his record certainly wasn't anything special, 4-5 with a 5.13 ERA. But the managers of the rival teams were impressed by his stuff not the numbers. In the annual Baseball America poll, they voted him the best prospect in the league. But if you still want impressive numbers, try the fact that here's a 6-3, 2111-pound righthander who fanned 79 batters in 59 innings.

He was putting up those figures with an arm that ached; so much so, that after the season ended, he was bound for the Jobe-Jerlan Clinic where he had Tommy John surgery.

He reported to Dodgertown early this year and he's been there most of the time since, rehabbing that injured elbow into shape. He's been progressing very much at the rate they like so that, by now, he participates in regular bullpen sessions and is able to throw all his pitches. Soon, he'll leave for home for a couple of weeks, then off to Arizona and the Instructional League where he's expected to be in game action.

In all, he still holds the rank of one of the better prospects in the organization.

Tuten wasn't that sought-after when he finished his junior college career. Nobody drafted him nor did bigtime college programs pursue him. He wound up at Tusculum, which is in Greenville, S.C. and plays Division II baseball. He did well there but, again, nobody drafted him.

Still, the Dodgers had him on their list of possibles and when the need arose for bullpen help for the Gulf Coast Dodgers, he was contacted and signed as a free agent.

That brought him to Dodgertown where he's been reunited with his future brother-in-law. Nice for them- and he's been a rather nice addition for the Dodgers, too.

So, he's appeared in five games, had racked up a couple of saves and hasn't yielded a run in any of his appearances. He's become the reliable closer that the team lacked before.

A solid 6-2, 185-pound righthander he has a fast ball that resides in the low 90's but that's not his big pitch. No, that's his slider which he sets up well.

He does something else well, too- throw strikes. In his five-plus innings, he's struck out 10 while walking only a single man. So, in the tough games when the Dodgers lead by a run or two, he's become the likely person that pitching coach Casey Deskins will call upon.

In all, it's been a valuable combination for the Dodgers to have. It's been great for the families of those concerned, too.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories