Sarah's Take: Mike Fetters
Last December when Mike Fetters signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, no one knew the impact Fetters would have on the Dodgers. After having arm problems and considering retirement, Fetters became a mainstay in the Dodger bullpen. Without Fetters’ contributions it would have been harder for the Dodgers to achieve second place in the National League Western Division.
Since 1989 Mike Fetters, 35, has pitched in the major leagues for the California Angels, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Oakland Athletics, the Baltimore Orioles, and the Dodgers. When he was with the Angels, he would have trouble breathing on the mound. Sometimes it would get so bad that he would pass out in the club house. He was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma. He worked with a respiratory therapist to develop a breathing technique that he does while pitching. This technique helps him remain able to breathe while looking fierce on the mound. In 1994 at Milwaukee Fetters became a closer. In 1997 he started having arm problems that made him ineffective. His arm problems limited him to 27 games in 1999 and he considered retiring.
As a non-roster invitee to spring training, Fetters soon showed the Dodgers that he belonged on their major league roster. Fetters uses a fastball and an almost unhittable split-finger fastball to get his outs. In April he appeared in nine games and had a 3.12 ERA. Because he had elbow inflammation and was on the disabled list in May, he was limited to five games, but he had a zero ERA. When Jeff Shaw could not save games, Fetters became the closer. Unlike most right-handed pitchers, Fetters has had more success against lefties than righties. Because the Dodgers had a shortage of left-handed relievers, his skill to get lefties out was valuable to the Dodgers in 2000. In 51games he had six wins, two losses, five saves, and a 3.24 ERA.
Mike Fetters gave the Dodgers a reliable setup man. In October the Dodgers signed him to a two-year contract. If Fetters stays healthy, he will be an asset to the Dodgers in 2001.