Thursday, October 12, 2000
Mike Fetters contemplated retiring from professional baseball at this time a year ago.
By Al Chase
Yesterday, he agreed to a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers that includes an option for the 2003 season.
He receives a $250,000 signing bonus and will earn $1.6 million in 2001 and $2.15 million in 2002.
"Not bad for an old guy," the 35-year-old right-hander said from his Arizona home.
Injuries hampered Fetters' performance from 1997 to 1999. He finally had surgery last season to remove bone chips from around the elbow in his right arm.
His career received new life when the Dodgers, Fetters' favorite team growing up, signed him to a minor-league contract on Dec. 15, 1999.
He pitched well enough during spring training to earn a spot on the Dodgers' opening-day roster.
"I didn't know what to expect. I did well in a couple of close games early and gained (manager) Davey Johnson's confidence," Fetters said.
"I enjoyed playing for him because he looked out for Mike Fetters this year.
"He always made sure Ihad enough rest."
Fetters had a 6-2 record with five saves and a 3.51 earned run average in 51 relief appearances.
"I feel like I've earned this contract. Now I have to continue to prove I'm worth every penny they will pay me," said Fetters, who played college ball at Pepperdine.
"I had a good year," he added.
"I enjoyed the game again this season. This past year was the most fun I've had since I've been in the big leagues."
He did spend one 15-day stint on the disabled list because of some swelling around the right elbow, but experienced no problems after that.
Fetters also credits a new off-season exercise program -- plyometrics -- with getting him in the best shape ever.
"I've got a personal trainer and a massage therapist who keeps me limber," he said. "Ifelt like an athlete this season, not just a baseball pitcher."
There is one thing missing in Fetter's career that spans 15 pro seasons, 12 in the big leagues.
"I'm still in search of that ever-elusive postseason play and I think the Dodgers can do it next year," the former Iolani baseball, basketball and football standout said.