Four Ex-Dodgers Move Up to Big Leagues

They may be just memories as far as the Dodgers are concerned but they're also big leaguers now as three players who were in the system as late as 2006 have moved up to The Show and a fourth is there poised and ready.

Outfielder Justin Ruggiano, righthander Joel Hanrahan and catcher Edwin Bellorin are the trio who have made their major league debuts in 2007 and lefthander Ryan Ketchner has been on the San Diego roster this month but has yet to get into a game.

Ruggiano, who went to Tampa Bay to complete the trade for Mark Hendrickson and Toby Hall has always surprised a lot of people with his hitting ability and he did so again this year, averaging .309 with 20 home runs for Durham in the International League. Brought up to the D-Rays, he's gotten into four games and has one hit in two trips to the plate.

Hanrahan opted for minor league free agency after the 2006 season when once againb the Dodgers failed to promote hinm to the 40-man roster. He signed with Washington which farmed him to Columbus of the International League where he was 5-4, 3.70. Moved up the parent Nationals, he has a 5-3 record albeit with a 6.00 ERA.

Bellorin was another who became a free agent following 2006. He joined the Colorado system, playing at Colorado Springs, their Pacific Coast League franchise where he hit .326 with nine homers, prompting his promotion. He's played in only four games for the Rockies and has gone 0-2.

Ketchner, who received a great deal of publicity for overcoming the fact that he's 90 percent deaf, had to come back from shoulder surgery. He was dropped form the 40-man and also became a free agent, signing with the Padres. He didn't do well at Portland in the PCL, winning only one game

The most success of any ex-Dodgers dropped in 2006 has been that of outfielder Cody Ross, who was let go in a ropster-paring move at the end of spring training last year, going to Cincinnati, which in turn sold his contract to Florida. Hampered by injuires, Ross stioll has hit .339 with 12 home runs.

Joel Guzman, considred the premium prospect traded by the Dodgers at the time, is back with the Devil Rays after spending most of the year with Durham. Guzman hit only .242 although with 16 homers there but is doing better in the American League, batting .320 since his recall.

Of the numerous free agents, the Dodgers brought in at the beginning of this year, then assigned to Las Vegas , most have departed with only outfielder Larry Bigbie finding a home in organized ball, catching on with Richmond, the Braves" International League team where he hit .253, Mitch Jones, another free agent, was sold to Japan.

Lefthander Chuck Tiggany, another peddled off to Tampa Bay, spent the summer rehabbing from a shoulder operation. Righthander Blake Johnson, who went to Kansas City (along with Odalis Perez) for Elmer Dessens, also had surgery but has recovered and did well for Wilmington in the South Atlantic League, going 9-6 with one save and a 3.26 ERA.

Last year. first baseman Craig Brazell was signed as a free agent and proceeded to lead the Southern League in runs batted in while playing for Jacksonville. That didn't get him another year in the L.A. organizaton, so he joined the Royals who sent him to Omaha in the PCL. There, he hit 39 home runs which led all the minors.

Righthander T. J. Nall, still another who opted for free agency, joined the Red Sox and was dropped to Lancaster in the California League where he was 1-4, 6.71. Righthander Heath Totten signed with the Phillies and, after a 1-5, 7.09 mark at Columbus in the Internation League, was sent down to Reading in the Eastern League where he was 2-5, 3.38.

Augustin Montero, who came back to the organization this past spring only to be cut loose, wound up in the Mexican League pitching for Vera Cruz with a 2-3, 5.29 record. Two others released during the season, also went back to Mexico, Gabriel Alvarez (2-3, 6.32 with Oaxaca) and Mario Gracia (0-0, 3.31 with Mexico City).

Righthander Jhonny Nunez, traded to Washington, for Marlon Anderson, pitched for Hagerstown in the South Atlantic League with a 4-16, 4.15 record.

The last man traded was second baseman Travis Denker, the payment to the Giants for Mark Sweeney. He moved over from Inland Empire to San Jose in the Cal League, where he hit .400 in seven games with one home run.

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