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Ted Lilly may miss next start, could affect regular-season debut

March 25, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Dodgers starting pitcher Ted Lilly faces the Giants during an exhibition game earlier this month at Camelback Ranch.
Dodgers starting pitcher Ted Lilly faces the Giants during an exhibition… (Anda Chu / McClatchy-Tribune )

When you have three starting pitchers who are 33 years of age or older like the Dodgers, injury seems inevitable.

Pitching depth will be essential, and it’s possible the Dodgers could have theirs tested at the season’s outset.

Ted Lilly, who has been bothered by a stiff neck, is not expected to make his next scheduled preseason start Tuesday against the Padres. Manager Don Mattingly conceded Sunday that it’s possible Lilly might not be available to take his first regular-season turn in the rotation April 7 in San Diego.

The Dodgers have an off day following their season-opening four-game series in San Diego, so Lilly could simply be skipped one turn if the neck soreness persists. Mattingly had already planned on skipping his fifth starter so Clayton Kershaw could pitch both the season opener in San Diego and the home opener April 10.

Lilly is 36 years old, and both Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano are 33. Nathan Eovaldi is expected to be first in line should any member of the rotation be lost to injury. After Eovaldi, it’s guess time.

Also Sunday, utility infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. was back in the lineup after sitting out with an inflamed shoulder. Hairston, who has five throwing errors in as many games, was scheduled to start at shortstop against the Brewers.

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Ted Lilly may miss next start, could affect regular-season debut

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