Chuck Tiffany Re-Signed by Dodgers

LHP Chuck Tiffany, the Dodgers second round pick in the 2003 draft, was released by Tampa Bay and re-signed to a minor league contract with Los Angeles. Tiffany was traded to Tampa in 2006, had arm trouble, and missed the entire 2007 season.

Tiffany had shoulder problems from the start of his Rays tenure, making just four Double-A starts in 2006 before undergoing surgery and missing the 2007 season. He went 1-2, 3.46 in 21 games (six starts) at Class A Vero Beach last season. He was healthy this spring but the Rays obviously did not think he would be effective and gave him his release.

At age 20, he won 11 games for the Vero Beach Dodgers. He was considered the key acquisition at the time of the January 14, 2006 trade that also brought Edwin Jackson to the Rays in exchange for RHPs Danys Baez and Lance Carter. He only made six starts in 2006, missed the entire 2007 season and, ironically enough, pitched for the Tampa Class A team at Vero Beach last year.

He worked in 21 games, six of them starts, and had a 3.46 earned run average but his control was off, walking 33 and striking out 21.

Assistant GM Logan White, who signed Tiffany in 2003, re-signed signed him again this week after watching him throw. White declared him healthy enough to take another chance on and assigned him to extended spring training, where he will try to pitch his way onto the roster of one of the Dodgers' affiliates.

As for the others in the deal with the Rays, Jackson was an important part of their run to the A.L. pennant last year before being traded to Detroit in December. Baez is back in the majors with Baltimore after missing all of last year. Carter pitched in Las Vegas but hasn't pitched professionally after that season.

Tiffany, a kid from Southern California, grew up with a bedroom adorned with Dodgers memorabilia. His desire to play for them has always been fervent as he first displayed to Tommy Lasorda when, spotting him in the airport he went up to him to declare, "Mr. Lasorda, I'm Chuck Tiffany. I'm going to pitch for the Dodgers some day."

Chuck was 12 at the time.

Their paths crossed again when he was a senior in high school. "There must have been 30 scouts watching me pitch at this game and there, sitting right in the middle was Tommy. Afterwards, all my buddies ran up and asked if I knew he was there. Did I know? Every time I looked in at my catcher, I could see him sitting there right behind home plate."

j
j6 If Tiffany desired the Dodgers, so did they want him. When the 2003 draft was held, the scouting hierarchy debated whether to take him first or the also-sought-after Chad Billingsley. White, a master at what is termed "slotting" felt they could get both by choosing Billingsley first and Tiffany second. Which is exactly how it went so that Chuck heard the Lasorda voice on the phone, saying, "Chuckie, you're a Dodger now."

Well, not quite. He didn't quickly grab a pen and ask where to sign. In truth, he held out almost all summer before they came up with a million dollars for his signature. Baseball, after all, is a business and that's what agents are hired for.

Thus, Chuck pitched in only three games at the end of the season meaning 2004 was essentially his rookie season. It turned out to be one that all had anticipated.

That 5-2 mark at Columbus is deceptive for the 6-1, 195-pound lefty had 15 no-decisions, most of those when he left with the lead, only to have the relief corps fail to hold it. His 3.70 ERA indicates that there were moments when his pitches flatten out but 141 strikeouts in 100 innings showed what his stuff can do.

Why, he was part of a combined no-hitter, then went out and threw a seven-inning perfect game in his next start. With Lasorda in attendance, as a good story line would have it.

"My best game," he agrees. "I had all my stuff working that night."

When it comes to "stuff", don't bother asking him what his fast ball readings are on the speed gun. "I don't know and I don't care," will be the answer.

In 2005, he had an even better season, winning 11 games at Vero Beach and striking out 134 while walking 43. That is when he attracted the attention of Tampa Bay and the insisted that he be included in the package.

It makes a very interesting story and Dodger fans who remember him will be anxious to see how he fares this season back in Dodger Blue.

Charles "Chuck" Tiffany
6-1  196  BL  TL
Born- January 25, 1985
Obtained- Selected second round 2003; traded to 
Tampa Bay in January, 2006. Released by Tampa Bay 
and signed as a free agent by Dodgers in April, 200.

year  team   w-l   era  gm  gs  in   h  bb   so   whip
2003  Ogden  0-0 10.13   3   0    3   4   2    4  2.25
2004  Colmb  5-2  3.69  22  22  100  76  40  141  1.16
2005  VBch  11-7  3.93  22  21  110  91  43  134  1.22
2006  Mont   0-2  6.89   4   4   16  20  14   12  2.17
2007   Did not play
2008  VBch   1-2  3.46  21   6   42  33  33   21  1.58 
------------------------------------------------------
 Totals     17-13 4.00  72  53  270 224 132  322  1.32
Other Minor League Notes
Diamond Leung reports that Justin Sellers, a middle-infielder acquired from the Cubs for a player to be named later, has sparkled for Chattanooga and was hitting a sizzling .351. Sellers, 23, was Oakland's sixth round draft pick in 2005 and his trade to Los Angeles was his second this spring. ... this spring. ...Left-hander Garrett White was released. The 24-year-old was a sixth-round draft pick in 2006 who was signed to a six-figure bonus. He seemingly was never the same after suffering a knee injury while playing in the Hawaii Winter League. Last season was demoted back to low-A Great Lakes after going 0-2 with a 8.05 ERA in 18 appearances for Inland Empire. ...Catcher Gabe Gutierrez, a Dodgers non-roster invitee in 2008, was loaned to Petroleros de Minatitlan, a Class AAA Mexican League team.

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