Dodgers Move Swiftly to Sign Will Ohman

The Dodgers have apparently solved their quest for a situational left-hander by quickly signing former Atlanta pitcher Will Ohman to a one-year minor league contract with the expectation of adding him to the staff in 2009 and with a club option for 2010.

"Will is a durable, proven left-handed reliever who has demonstrated over the course of his career the ability to get left-handed hitters out," said Colletti. "He has also shown a willingness to take the ball whenever he's needed."

Omhan pitched briefly for manager Joe Torre and Colletti Sunday in a simulated game on the minor league side of the complex and impressed them enough that they offered him a contract and an option for 2010.

The contract calls for Ohman to receive $1.35 million plus appearance incentives in 2009 with a $2.2 million option for 2010 or a $200,000 buyout.

He is scheduled to pitch for the Dodgers today (Tuesday) in Tucson against the Diamondbacks, go with the club to Los Angeles for exhibition games the rest of this week, then return to Minor League camp and join Albuquerque for a few more appearances. But the contract comes with an opt-out clause if he's not in the Major Leagues by April 14.

The deal is technically a Minor League deal until Ohman is promoted, then the Dodgers would need to free up a 40-man roster spot.

"I feel a little better about the bullpen," Colletti told Tony Jackson of the Los Angeles Daily News. "We feel he answers our need for another lefty in the bullpen. He was very good with Atlanta, especially against left-handed hitters. He adds a veteran into a relatively young pitching staff."

The southpaw is 10-9 in 303 career games with a 4.16 ERA. He played for the Atlanta in 2008, finishing 4-1 with a 3.68 ERA in 83 games. Before that, he was with the Cubs for more than six seasons.

The left-hander has struck out 219 batters in 218.2 innings, while allowing just 194 hits. Over the last four seasons, Ohman has averaged over 71 appearances a season, with his career high of 83 coming last year.

Ohman missed the 2002 and 2003 seasons because of Tommy John surgery. However, he has been a workhorse since and has limited left-handed hitters to a .189 average since 2005.

The Dodgers bullpen has been a source of concern. Jonathan Broxton will close in place of Takaski Saito, with Hong-Chih Kuo and Cory Wade the setup men, Guillermo Mota is having a strong spring and Torre seems to want Jeff Weaver the swingman. With Ohman, the Dodgers will need to add one more arm to reach the seven they are expected to keep.

Ramon Troncoso, Tanyon Sturtze, Josh Lindblom, Eric Milton, Erick Threets, and Brian Mazone are also under consideration.

Suddenly, Ronald Belisario, who was on the original non-roster invitee list but arrived two weeks late because of visa problems, could be the surprise of the spring season according to assistant general manager DeJon Watson.

Belisario worked two strong innings in Monday's exhibition against the A's, and earned a trip west with the club at least through the weekend. He retired six batters with six ground balls and a fly, working around an error by Orlando Hudson.

The right-hander, only 26, was a promising starting prospect for the Marlins who missed the 2005 and 2006 seasons with Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery and more recently has worked as a reliever in the Pittsburgh organization. He jumped onto the Dodgers radar with a strong winter ball season in his native Venezuela and signed as a Minor League free agent.

"He was terrific," manager Joe Torre enthused. "We're going to see more of him." That would allow the Dodgers to send rookie sensation Josh Lindblom to the minor leagues to gain a bit more experience instead of rushing the young man into the Major League with just eight professional games on his resumé.

Mark Mulder to Audition --Mark Mulder, a left-handed free agent has been rehabbing his rotator cuff surgery with former Michigan State pitching coach Greg Gunderson for a number of weeks and is expected to throw for interested teams next week.

Mulder has been limited him to six appearances over the last two years with the Cardinals. When healthy, is he 103-60 over his career, has been one of the top lefties in the game. Only 31, the 6-foot-6-inch, 200-pounder will likely sign a Triple A deal.

According to the Boston Globe, the Dodgers are reportedly the most interested team, while the Brewers are still in the picture. Mulder's agent, Gregg Clifton said six or seven teams will send scouts to watch his client throw.

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