Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Mitch White was among the franchise-record 39 pitchers the Los Angeles Dodgers used last season, but he could lay claim to being the player most frequently recalled and optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
White first joined the Dodgers on April 26, 2021. He appeared out of the bullpen that night in a loss to the Cincinnati Reds, but didn’t pitch again until four days later. That was part of back-to-back appearances as the Dodgers needed an unexpected bullpen game because Dustin May left a start due to injury.
White made 14 relief appearances over multiple stints with the Dodgers before getting a chance to start against the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 31. He only went 3.2 innings but allowed just two runs and collected five strikeouts.
The Dodgers optioned White back to Oklahoma City the following day, and he wasn’t back with the club until Aug. 12 for a spot start against the Philadelphia Phillies. It was another short outing, but he again kept the Dodgers in the game.
White went on to pitch in five more games for L.A., which included two starts. He figured to finish the regular season with OKC but was recalled as a corresponding move to Clayton Kershaw going on the 10-day injured list the second-to-last-day of the year.
White went 1-3 with a 3.66 ERA, 3.83 FIP and 1.18 WHIP over 21 games (four starts) with the Dodgers. He was more effective in the Minors, finishing a combined 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA in 12 games (nine starts) with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga and Oklahoma City.
White’s 2021 highlight
Thin on available starting pitchers last August, the Dodgers turned to a bullpen game against the Pittsburgh Pirates that White was part of. Justin Bruihl made his second start as an opener and recorded five outs.
He was then followed by Mitch White, who provided much more length than anticipated with a career-high 7.1 scoreless innings. He allowed just two hits, issued two walks and collected six strikeouts on an efficient 91 pitches.
“For me, it’s not super important. I just kind of keep going and try to keep throwing through everything,” White of his pitch count after the impressive performance. “It worked out well because the offense picked us up, and I was able to kind of extend and cover some innings.”
When asked if he had ever pitched a better game, the right-hander gave a short and simple answer.
“Major League career? No. No,” White said.
The 27-year-old could be relied on for a larger role this season if the Dodgers fail to re-sign Kershaw or add more pieces to their starting rotation.
White will need to improve his efficiency and walk rate in order to permanently stick at the Major League level, but his versatility is already a plus.
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