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Chris Capuano to replace Zack Greinke in rotation

Chris Capuano, a starter throughout his career but relegated to bullpen this year, will rejoin rotation in place of Greinke, who's sidelined by a broken collarbone.

April 13, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times
  • Chris Capuano will move from the bullpen into the Dodgers' rotation to fill Zack Greinke's spot. Capuano has pitched 2 2/3 innings this season, giving up two hits and no runs with four strikeouts.
Chris Capuano will move from the bullpen into the Dodgers' rotation… (Mark Duncan / Associated…)

PHOENIX — Chris Capuano will replace injured Zack Greinke in the Dodgers' rotation and is scheduled to start Tuesday against the San Diego Padres.

"It was a blow losing Zack for a little while here, but it's our job to come together and fill in and keep us moving in the right direction," Capuano said.

Greinke suffered a fracture of the collarbone in his left, non-throwing shoulder Thursday when Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin charged the mound after being hit by a pitch. Greinke underwent a 90-minute procedure Saturday to stabilize the fracture and is expected to be sidelined for eight weeks.

Capuano has been a starting pitcher for most of his nine-year career, but overcrowding in the rotation pushed him into a relief role.

"At some point in the year, I was hoping to get a chance to start," Capuano said. "I'm just excited that it's still close enough to spring training and my arm feels good and strong and extended. I'll try to go out there and help us not miss a beat."

Capuano was on a starting pitcher's throwing program throughout spring training.

"He was totally built through spring training," Manager Don Mattingly said. "We're not exactly months away from that."

Capuano tried to make the most of his time in the bullpen, borrowing ideas from the team's other relievers on how to maintain arm strength.

"I watched some of the other relievers and they get about five feet in front of the rubber," he said. "They're in the front of the mound, so they still get some slope but it's a shorter distance. I've been doing that just about every day, throwing about 10 pitches to keep the feel."

Capuano, who has pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, threw a full-blown 40-pitch bullpen session Saturday.

"I feel strong," said Capuano, who was 12-12 with a 3.72 earned-run average in 33 starts last season.

The decision to move Capuano back into the rotation keeps Ted Lilly in a state of limbo. Lilly is on the 15-day disabled list and has made two minor league rehabilitation starts.

If Lilly refuses to continue pitching in minor league games and the Dodgers don't activate him, he will have to be traded or released. Lilly is making $12 million this season.

Quentin reaction

Clayton Kershaw made his feelings clear: Quentin should have been suspended for more than eight games for injuring Greinke.

"Unless it's two months, it's not enough," Kershaw said. "I don't understand why he should get to play and Zack doesn't. I'm glad the league did eight. That's more than some people were expecting, so it's a step."

Major League Baseball has suspended eight players over the last eight seasons for charging the mound. The longest previous suspension was eight games, for Nyjer Morgan in 2010.

Utility player Jerry Hairston Jr. echoed Kershaw's sentiments. But he acknowledged the decision was difficult for the commissioner's office.

"It's easier to sit here and try to figure out what's best," Hairston said. "That's what they decided on and we have to abide by it."

Mattingly, who called for Quentin to be suspended for the duration of Greinke's injury, was similarly resigned.

"That's their stuff now," he said.

Hairston was suspended for a game for his role in the benches-clearing incident. He and Quentin are appealing their suspensions and will be allowed to continue playing until their cases are resolved.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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