DENVER — On the Dodgers’ most recent day off, reliever Josh Lindblom visited the Dream Center in Echo Park, which offers residential drug rehabilitation programs and other services. Later on Thursday, he distributed food on skid row and took 15 to 20 homeless people to church.
There weren’t any news cameras or reporters around.
“I’d be sitting at home anyways,” Lindblom said. “It’s a small, small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things. It was one of the most fulfilling days I’ve had all season.”
This is Lindblom’s way of spreading the gospel.
“It’s tough to tell to people about Jesus,” he said. “I take the approach of showing them first.”
Lindblom believes his increased devotion to God has made him the pitcher he is today — a pitcher Manager Don Mattingly has come to rely increasingly on in later innings. The 24-year-old right-hander entered Monday with a 0.66 earned-run average in 11 appearances.
Lindblom, who was raised in a Christian household, recalled how he lost his way in 2010, when he posted a 6.54 ERA for triple-A Albuquerque.
“I didn’t live the way the Bible told me to,” he said. “I was living to glorify myself.”
On the first day back from the All-Star break that year, Lindblom returned to his locker and found a page from the Bible in his shoe. He never learned who placed it there.
“I think it fell from heaven,” he said, smiling.
His attitude toward life started changing. His on-field performance did too.
He received his first call-up to the majors in 2011 and posted a 2.73 ERA in 27 games.
“This guy flat out attacks the strike zone,” Mattingly said.
This winter, Lindblom and his wife established a charitable foundation. The foundation donated $20,000 to an Indiana food bank that distributes backpacks filled with food to children of low-income households.
“They have lunch provided for them at school, but nobody thinks about the two days they don’t have school,” Lindblom said.
He has become a frequent visitor to the faith-based Dream Center, which he first heard about on a radio broadcast during the off-season in Indiana.
“God has blessed me with an ability to play,” he said. “I get to live my dream every single day, compete at the highest level. I want to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Todd Coffey was activated from the 15-day disabled list. The Dodgers opened a roster spot for him the previous day by sending Nathan Eovaldi to double-A Chattanooga.
Coffey was put on the disabled list as much because of his performance (36.00 ERA) as his inflamed right knee.
But the hefty reliever said that had he not taken time off, his knee problems could have turned into something far worse than he imagined.
“The swelling took about five days of doing nothing to go down,” he said. “I thought it would take two or three.”
Coffey pitched in two class-A games last week.