Blake Hawksworth is getting acquainted with his new Dodgers teammates in his first spring training outside the Cardinals organization. He was taken in the 28th round by the Cardinals in the 2001 draft, and not surprisingly, it took him 7 seasons of development before he made his big league debut. Despite struggling in AAA Memphis, Hawksworth took full advantage of his first opportunity to play in the major league and is looking to bounce back from his sophomore slump.
After joining the Cardinals at age 19, it took Blake 5 years to get to AAA Memphis. His ERA was 5.28 in 2007, and ballooned to 6.09 in 2008 before he finally settled in with a 3.58 ERA in 2009. The success was enough to earn him a mid-season role in the Cardinals’ depleted bullpen, and he never looked back. In his 30 appearances in the big leagues in 2009, he was lights out, putting up a 2.03 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, gave up just 2 home runs and posted a 4-0 record.
But in 2010, the big league hitters caught up to Hawksworth and neutralized his early success. In 45 appearances (90.1 innings) hitters shelled him for 15 HRs, which helped raise his ERA to 4.98 with a WHIP of 1.64.
2010 definitely didn’t turn out how Hawksworth or the Cardinals would’ve liked and the club dealt him to the Dodgers for shortstop, Ryan Theriot, during the offseason. The move was made in part because the Cardinals needed to replace recently ousted shortstop, Brendan Ryan, and in part because they had a deep bullpen, especially in the right-handers department.
Fast-forward to spring training 2011 and now the trade is looming as one the Cardinals might want to have back. Starting pitcher, Adam Wainwright, is lost for the season with an elbow injury and the Cardinals will likely look to right-hander reliever, Kyle McClellan, to fill in for at least some of those starts. McClellan may take the role permanently. As the saying goes, you can never have too much pitching.
As for Blake Hawksworth, he’s looking to lend a helping hand to a Dodger bullpen that ranked 11th in the National League in bullpen ERA, while it was asked to eat up the 6th most innings in the league. While he’ll certainly miss seeing the Pittsburgh Pirates’ lineup 19 times a year, he is moving to the lowest scoring division in the National League and that certainly won’t hurt his chances of rebounding in 2011. Blake’s former teammates will pay him a visit in Los Angeles for a 4 game series April 14-18, and he’ll make his first trip back to Busch Stadium August 22-24. Aside from those 7 games, most Cardinals fans will be wishing Hawksworth the best as he continues his career out on the west coast.