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Former star quarterback Zach Lee pitches for Dodgers in win

March 23, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers pitching prospect Zach Lee is introduced before a Dodgers game with Logan White, an assistant general manager.
Dodgers pitching prospect Zach Lee is introduced before a Dodgers game… (Chris Carlson / Associated…)

Reporting from Tucson, Ariz. -- Would LSU have beaten Alabama for the BCS championship this football season if Zach Lee were their quarterback?

Lee laughed at the question.

“It’s all 'what ifs’ you know?” Lee said. “You never know. We may not have gotten there if I was the quarterback.”

The former two-sport star, who the Dodgers paid $5.25 million to walk away from a football scholarship at LSU, pitched in his first major league game Friday. The 20-year-old right-hander tossed a perfect seventh inning in the Dodgers’ 17-4 thrashing of the Chicago White Sox, forcing two groundouts and striking out Jose Martinez.

Rated the best prospect in the Dodgers’ farm system by Baseball America, Lee was 9-6 with a 3.47 earned-run average for Class A Great Lakes last season. He said he has never regretted his decision to leave football, not even when watching LSU play for the national championship.

“That was one of the biggest things making that decision. I wanted to make sure I made it and head forward and really go after the dream and the goal,” he said.

But he said he misses playing football, particularly in the winter.

“When you’re not doing anything and football season is going full blown, you get a little itch sometimes,” he said.

Growing up in Texas, Lee pictured himself playing both sports.

“Once I got to a certain age, I realized that I would probably have to pick one or the other,” he said.

Lee said he doesn’t know how far he is from the big leagues.

His goals this season: “I want to pitch as much as I can, try to get as high [in the organization] as I can and see where it takes us.”

Lee said he wasn’t nervous when he entered the game on Friday. There were 10,894 fans in the stands.

“I don’t know if that’s just because it was 17-4 when I came in,” he said. “I wasn’t too nervous.”

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