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Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly can't see Aaron Harang in bullpen

February 27, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Aaron Harang made 31 starts last season, finishing with a record of 10-10 and an earned-run average of 3.61.
Aaron Harang made 31 starts last season, finishing with a record of 10-10… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )

The math doesn’t work and everyone knows it. Try as you might, eight starting pitchers for five spots just won’t divide evenly

If Chad Billingsley and, to a lesser extent, Clayton Kershaw prove healthy, and South Korea’s Hyun-Jin Ryu proves to be the real deal, then the Dodgers will have a three-pitcher surplus (Aaron Harang, Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano) after veterans Zack Greinke and Josh Beckett.

The presumption is that at least one would be traded, and the rest headed to the bullpen.

But before the Dodgers’ 11-7 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday in Mesa, Ariz., Manager Don Mattingly seemed to make it clear that any future Harang had with the Dodgers was strictly as a starter. Which sounds like Harang's a guy headed out.

“Aaron Harang doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that pitches out of the pen,” Mattingly told reporters. “To me he’s more of a guy that paints. He keeps you in the game. He’s just not that guy that’s going in and overpower you.”

Then Harang went out Wednesday and got lit up in the first inning, giving up four runs on five hits and a walk. He came back out in the second and retired the side in order on nine pitches, all strikes.

That should clear all that up.

There’s still a month to go before the regular season, but things will have to shake out in the Big Eight at some point.

“Everybody right now is going, ‘Oh, the dodgers got eight starters. It’s great,’ ” Mattingly said. “Well, none of them have options. You can’t keep them anywhere. Once spring training’s over and if they’re not on our roster, we don’t have any control anymore. So eight really turns to five.”

One pitcher who did look good Wednesday was Matt Magill, who struck out five in two innings. He walked one and did not give up a hit. The right-hander spent last season at double-A Chattanooga.

Offensively Wednesday, the Dodgers collected 14 hits. They got a double and three RBIs from Jerry Hairston Jr., three hits and two RBIs from utilityman Alfredo Amezaga, two RBIs from outfielder Brian Barden, three hits from Elian Herrera and a home run from Alex Castellanos.

And the human specimen that is Yasiel Puig, raw or not, continued to impress getting two hits and scoring three runs.

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