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Spring days dwindle and Dodgers still with eight starting pitchers

March 24, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Ted Lilly is 0-2 with an ERA of 9.45 in three appearances this spring.
Ted Lilly is 0-2 with an ERA of 9.45 in three appearances this spring. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated…)

Believe it or not, spring training is actually drawing to a close. It had to happen sometime. The Dodgers have only three more games scheduled in Arizona before heading to Los Angeles and the Freeway Series against the Angels.

And they still have eight starting pitchers. Not one has been moved. The way most have pitched, it's understandable if the offers have not been pouring in.

None of the eight have exactly been lights out this spring: Zack Grienke (0-0, 3.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP), Clayton Kershaw (2-2, 3.60, 1.28), Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-2, 3.86, 1.07), Josh Beckett (0-0, 5.40, 1.20), Chad Billingsley (0-1, 7.04), Chris Capuano (1-1, 7.20), Aaron Harang (1-1, 8.10), Ted Lilly (0-2, 9.45).

Beckett has actually been the most effective this spring, at least numerically, until struggling Sunday in a 7-4 loss to the A's. Beckett lasted just four innings, surrendering seven runs on six hits and three walks.

The assumption all spring was that at least one, and possibly two, of the starting pitchers would be traded by end of spring. But the days are ticking by and all eight remain.

When Manager Don Mattingly met with reporters in Phoenix in his pregame session, for the first time he sounded like all eight may still be Dodgers by the opener on April 1. Which is not to say one or two might not find their way to the disabled list.

There are plenty of worse problems to have than a surplus of starting pitchers, which doesn't mean it isn't something of a problem. All eight have pretty much been starters their entire careers. And the three not expected to make the rotation are a little late in their careers to make the transition (Capuano and Harang are 34, Lilly is 37).

It appears the rotation will be Kershaw, Ryu, Beckett, Greinke and Billingsley to start the season. That still leaves an odd bonus of three starting pitchers, all of whom long ago ran out of options.

On Saturday, the Dodgers at least received a bit of needed offensive news. Carl Crawford, starting in left field for the second time, hit his first home run of the spring. He also threw in his first ball in from the outfield, apparently dazzling no one. Andre Ethier hit a two-run homer; it was also his first of the year.

And in a strange moment of mortal behavior, Yasiel Puig flew out in his two at-bats. That dropped his spring average to .527.

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