Eric Gagne has been participating in pitching workouts with the Dodgers this spring in preparation for the WBC. Gagne is in the Dodger clubhouse as a guest pitching instructor but he’s making the news with his promising bullpen sessions.
Eric Gagne, 41, has not pitched in the MLB for 7 years now but still feels good enough to test his arm against MLB talent. He is pitching for team Canada in the WBC and has thrown unofficial bullpen sessions for the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Nationals, and Padres.
Gagne made his WBC debut Tuesday and threw a scoreless inning in Canada’s first exhibition game against the Blue Jays. The former Cy Young Award winner has impressed this spring with his velocity consistently hovering around 90 mph.
Of course what made Gagne so dominant in the early 2000’s was his change of pace curveball. Word out of Camelback is that the curveball still looks good and he’s been able to keep his pitches down in the zone while maintaining his velocity.
In an interview on Dodger Talk on AM570, Gagne spoke to David Vassegh about his time at Camelback Ranch.
"“I got smarter, I’m not going to throw 95. I’m just going to throw some strikes and get the ball down and try to play with the hitters a little bit more. My change-up is good. I worked a little bit on a cutter, so I got a little bit of different weapons now."
Gagne is enjoying his time with the Dodgers this spring and is appreciative of how the Dodgers’ staff and players have embraced his knowledge of the game. Since 2008, he pitched a few times over in the Canadian-American League.
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The idea of watching Gagne pitch again is fascinating. Every Dodger fan remembers the rush of hearing him come out to “Welcome to the Jungle” as he recorded the [at the time] most saves in Dodger history.
The idea that he could make a comeback in the MLB is exciting but improbable. I wouldn’t put it by Gagne to find a club to give him an opportunity to prove himself in the minor leagues. At the very least, Gagne could be a draw for a team needing to interact with their fan base [Cough, Cough, Mets, and Tim Tebow].
The truth is the Dodgers have so much depth that the idea of taking a flyer on a Dodger legend is not one that the front office would even entertain.
He’s going to have the opportunity to put his arm on display against the MLB talent. Canada will face the Dominican Republic, USA, and Colombia in the first round. All teams with exceptional MLB talent on the roster.
If Gagne could pull some sort of Hollywood comeback he wouldn’t be the oldest pitcher in the league. Bartolo Colon is 43 and pitching for the Atlanta Braves.
If you’re a true Dodger fan you’re rooting for the Gagne comeback story. But in a championship or bust season, I don’t think we need that kind of distraction on the roster. Best case scenario, let’s hope Gagne could show our pitchers the changeup that was so dominant in his prime years.