Dodgers Sign RHP Travis Chick

Los Angeles has signed minor league free agent Travis Chick, 24, who pitched for Double-A West Tenn and Triple-A Tacoma in the Seattle system last season. Originally drafted by the Marlins in 2002, he is a seven year veteran of professional baseball.

At age 18, Chick was a 14th round pick in the 2002 draft out of Whitehall, Texas by the Florida Marlins. He was traded to San Diego in 2004, traded by the Padres to Cincinnati for Joe Randa in 2005 and traded to Seattle for Eddie Guardado and cash in 2006. He made his major league debut on September 13, 2006 with Seattle. He also pitched in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2008.

"I'm excited about playing for the Dodgers," he said in a phone interview. "I have played against Los Angeles teams in both the Southern and Pacific Coast Leagues and have seen that they are well-coached." He turned down a number of other offers to sign with the Dodgers.

He has a complete repertory of pitches; fastball, curve, slider and change and has been a power pitcher, striking out over eight batters per nine innings over his 166-game minor league career. He has also allowed fewer hits than innings pitched over his 747.2 professional innings.

He was ranked the top pitching prospect and the forth best overall prospect in the Padres organization in 2005 and the 10th best Cincinnati prospect in 2007. However, his strikeouts per inning pitched hovered around the 4.0 mark per nine innings.

"I tend to not give in to a hitter when I get behind in the count," he said. "I try to work him instead of challenging him with runners on base and as a result my walk totals have been higher."

But in 2008, pitching for Double-A West Tenn and Triple-A Tacoma that seemed to change.

"I feel I am on the verge of a breakout," he said. "Over the second half of the 2008 season I became more of a pitcher." And his numbers agree. Over his final five games with Tacoma he was 3-0 with a 1.91 earned run average, 29 strikeouts and 14 walks in 33 innings and he held opposing batters to a .191 average.

"I'll come into spring training in good shape. I want to be ready when the season starts and hopefully will be called up early if they need pitching help," he said.