Knuckle Balls and Line Drives
The 27-year old knuckleballer Charlie Haeger will be making his first appearance with the Dodgers this season after being a non-roster invitee to spring training. Haeger’s only start came on May 10, 2006 pitching for the Chicago White Sox against the Angels, his first appearance in the Majors. He was clocked for six runs, five earned, in 4 1/3 innings pitched.
“It’s a high stress game for a catcher to catch the knuckleball,” catcher Brad Ausmus said who will be catching tonight for Haeger.
“Baseballs normally thrown by pitchers have a standard movement,” Ausmus explained about the complexities of the knuckleball. “That doesn’t apply to a knuckleball. You don’t know where it’s going next. There’s no standard movement and each pitch is different than the last.”
To catch Ausmus will be using a hybrid catching glove that’s larger than a catcher’s mitt but smaller than a first baseman’s glove.
“It’s as if a catcher’s mitt and a first baseman’s mitt had a baby,” Ausmus explained. “It’s a little bit a thinner.”
While afraid of looking like a fool behind the plate, Ausmus did joke about an easy aspect of catching a knuckleballer.
“It’s a very easy game to call,” Ausmus joked.