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Adenhart's death hits Dodgers hard

Adenhart's death hits Dodgers hard

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SAN DIEGO -- In a somber Dodgers clubhouse before Thursday's game with the Padres, Blake DeWitt and James Loney watched televised reports of the tragic death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and recalled a batting-practice session in 2007.

"It was just before Spring Training and we needed someone to throw batting practice and he said he needed to throw a bullpen, so we worked out at a junior college in Arizona," DeWitt said. "Afterward, we talked about what a live arm he had. We came out of the same Draft.

"All I heard was how good a pitcher he was. He broke three of James' bats, I know that, and James had to borrow one from me to finish. He seemed like a real nice guy. It's so sad."

Loney said he was speaking with his father when he heard the news.

"I was telling my dad that he threw to us," Loney said. "I had a friend in the Angels system and that's how we met. He had a good arm. He was throwing hard, I remember that."

James McDonald, scheduled to start Friday night in Arizona, said he faced Adenhart several times in the Minor Leagues.

"He dealt against us," McDonald recalled. "He was a good guy, a tremendous competitor. Every time on the mound, we played against him in the playoffs, it was get ready, you know he's coming at you. I saw that this morning, it was kind of surprising. I got a feeling in my stomach, butterflies. It took my breath away. You see him last night on ESPN, he had a great game. It makes you think he's on top of the world. Next thing you know, his life tragically ended. It makes you think it could happen to anybody. It's real sad. I can't believe it happened."

Manager Joe Torre said the only similar in-season experience he had with the death of a player was while he was an Angels broadcaster and pitcher Donnie Moore committed suicide.

"You realize life is so fragile. It can be snuffed out in a minute," Torre said. "Young people don't believe it. It just slaps you back to reality how thankful we should be that we're here. He's gone. There are parents, I don't know if he had brothers or sister. All the other people are completely devastated at this point."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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