John Ely takes a fearless approach
Dodgers right-hander has recorded three straight wins
Rookie right-hander John Ely wasn't considered a top prospect ... until he got to the Major Leagues and began pounding the strike zone for the Dodgers. The 24-year-old Illinois native wasn't even in Major League camp during Spring Training, and he didn't get to the Majors until late April. But he's already become a stabilizing force in the Dodgers' rotation, chipping in three consecutive wins during the club's recent hot streak and challenging hitters with a fearless approach. Ely, who has allowed just four walks against 28 strikeouts in 31.2 innings, recently answered some questions for MLBPLAYERS.com:
MLBPLAYERS.com: How does it feel to have the success you have had so far this season here?
Ely: I've been trying to fill a spot, to fill a role. So far it's been working out pretty well for me and for the team. I think I've been doing my job to the best of my abilities. We've been fortunate to get some wins.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Have your approached these big league opportunities the same as other opportunities you've earned over the years?
Ely: In the back of my mind, I know this is very different, but I've tried to take a similar approach. I try to go about everything the same way. You don't want to get too excited because you might try and do too much. I don't want to try and step beyond what I'm capable of.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Prior to the season starting, how unusual was your spring?
Ely: I wasn't in big league camp. I did get to accompany the team when we went to Taiwan for some exhibition games, and that was pretty cool, but in all it was real different. I didn't expect to be up here now -- at least this soon, if at all. I'm making the best of an opportunity I've been given.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Location is key for any pitcher. How important is it for you based on your abilities?
Ely: I don't have lights-out stuff. It's pretty average. But if you can locate and make the pitches where you need to make them, you will have success for the most part.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You have yet to face a team here for a second time. Do you anticipate making changes the second time around?
Ely: That's a challenge I'm looking forward to. Then I'll be facing guys who have seen me, who know what I have. It will be different, but I'm up for it.
MLBPLAYERS.com: On the mound you appear to be animated and a little quirky. Does that sound like a good way to describe you?
Ely: Absolutely. Why not?
MLBPLAYERS.com: So, you like those descriptions?
Ely: I'm a pretty emotional person. When things are going good, it's hard for me to hide that, and I don't want to hide that. You don't have to be stone-faced all the time. When things are going bad, don't show it, but otherwise I like being emotional and I like getting everybody fired-up. That's how I feel about it.
MLBPLAYERS.com: During the time you've been here, have you focused at all on the fact that you could be sent back to Triple-A at any point?
Ely: You can't think about it or think about anything along those lines. The second you think you might be going back down is the second you can start to struggle. Your mind has to completely be dedicated. So I'm taking it one day at a time.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You came over to this Dodgers team via trade from the White Sox as part of the offseason deal that sent Juan Pierre to Chicago. How do you look at your time with that organization?
Ely: It's hard to say whether I hit my ceiling there or if I would have had a future with them. I think, overall, it was actually a good trade for both sides. Juan Pierre is a phenomenal player who is doing good things over there. I think I've done pretty well since I was traded over here. It was a good trade for both sides, and I don't know what my impact would have been there. Now it's about just looking forward and focusing on what I can do here to succeed.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You are living with catcher Russell Martin. How is that going?
Ely: Yes, I'm living at his place right now. It is pretty nice.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.