Dodgers News: Luis Avilan Attributes Poor Spring Training To Change In Environment
Dodgers News: Luis Avilan Attributes Poor Spring Training To Change In Environment
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers were linked to multiple free-agent relievers during the offseason, but their most notable effort to upgrade an inconsistent bullpen was with a near trade for closer Aroldis Chapman.

The Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds reached an agreement, only for the deal to come undone when a report surfaced, detailing Chapman’s involvement in a domestic dispute. After the clubs went their separate ways, Chapman was traded to the New York Yankees.

The electric left-hander was then suspended 30 games by Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred. In returning much of last season’s bullpen, Dodgers president Andrew Friedman voiced confidence in the group on multiple occasions.

Luis Avilan was among those set for another season with the Dodgers, as the two parties avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.39 million contract. However, Avilan struggled throughout Spring Training and lost out to Louis Coleman for the final spot in the bullpen.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he thought Avilan lacked confidence to pitch with any sort of consistency. The 26-year-old lefty finished with a 10.13 ERA and 2.50 WHIP in 10 appearances this spring.

According to J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News, Avilan believes pitching in the Cactus League for the first time was some reason for his poor showing:

“I had the opportunity to talk to (veteran pitcher) Sean Burnett,” he said. “He was like, ‘don’t worry about it. It was your first spring training in Arizona. Everyone goes through that.’ He knows because like me, all his career was spring training in Florida and it’s different. Every time a guy normally has his spring training in Florida, then goes to Arizona, he has a rough spring training.”

Avilan was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday, with Coleman placed on the bereavement list. The left-handed reliever threw six scoreless innings over five games for OKC.

Avilan pointed to the success he had after leaving Arizona behind:

“My sinker’s working good, my changeup, my curveball,” he said, “and the numbers show it.”

During three years he saw worthwhile action with the Atlanta Braves during Spring Training, Avilan posted a 5.56 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 11 games in 2013, threw 7.2 scoreless innings with a 0.91 WHIP in 2014, and posted a 2.00 ERA and 1.22 WHIP last year.

Avilan made his first appearance on Friday since being called up, retiring the lone batter he faced by way of strikeout to end the eighth inning with a runner on third base. He faced two batters on Saturday, retiring one and getting charged for a run after exiting.