GLENDALE, Ariz. — After six years in the NFL, Jarrad Page has decided to give baseball a whirl.
How serious is he about changing sports at the age of 26?
Time will tell.
Right now, however, Page won’t.
Signed to a minor-league contract by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, Page, who turned down earlier baseball offers to pursue football, was going to meet with the media on Wednesday afternoon, following his daily workout with the Dodger minor league prospects.
When it came time to talk, however, Page declined.
His brother John, who is serving as Page’s adviser, informed the Dodgers that he felt his brother needed some time to settle in before addressing the media.
Evidently four years at UCLA and six years in the NFL had not prepared him for the challenge of answering questions.
What is uncertain is whether Page is serious about trying the roundabout way into baseball or if he sees baseball as a point of leverage in his NFL free agency. The NFL free agency period began this week. Maybe the brother wants to be careful Page doesn’t say something that could impact an NFL team that has interest.
"There are some definite abilities,’’ said De Jon Watson, vice president/player development of the Dodgers. "Yesterday, hitting left-handed, he lined a shot into left center and had a triple, easy. We will see what happens.’’
Page is a low-risk gamble for the Dodgers. He showed up at a March 1 tryout camp, was easily the best player in the group, and then signed a basic minor-league contract. There’s no bonus, nor salary in spring training.
"We’ll see what happens and when we get closer to the season both sides will have a decision to make,’’ said Watson.
Page has the athletic potential, and was highly regarded as a baseball player out of high school. He, however, chose football, and has now been away from baseball for six years.
Page was a fifth-round draft pick of Milwaukee when he came out of high school in 2002, but turned down a reported $750,000 and chose to play football at UCLA. He played baseball, in addition to football, his final two years at UCLA, and was drafted by Colorado in the 32nd round in 2005, and the seventh round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2006.
He hit .149 with 48 strikeouts in 101 at-bats the two years at UICLA, but the Rockies still offered him $75,000, half of what Page wanted to give up his senior year at UCLA.
Page also was a seventh round draft of the NFL Kansas City Chiefs in 2006, and opted to pursue the NFL. After four years with the Chiefs, he forced a trade to New England for the 2010 season. Signed by Philadelphia as a free agent last summer, he was released by the Eagles in November, and signed with Minnesota for the remainder of the season.
— Tracy Ringolsby