Pitching Staff Beginning to Take Shape

The out of options boys, Eric Stults and Charlie Haeger, are battling for spots on the opening day roster.

The Dodgers dropped tonight's game to the Padres, 5-1, ending a long day of baseball, two games in two parks.  Here are some notes:

  • Vicente Padilla became the first Dodger pitcher to throw five innings in an "A" game this spring, but he did allow four runs on seven hits, the bulk of which came on a Matt Antonelli three-run home run in the second inning.  Padilla did strike out five batters without issuing a walk.
  • Josh Lindblom was solid again, pitching two perfect innings with three strikeouts.  Manager Joe Torre praised his ability to throw strikes but noted his roster status likely would determine his fate in a few weeks.  "Lindblom is not on our [40-man] roster, so the chances are he won't be on our roster when the season starts," said Torre, "We want him to start the season as a starter."
  • Speaking of starting in Albuquerque, Torre reiterated that James McDonald would start rather than pitch in relief while in Triple A.  "Its going to be a long, slow process," said Torre, "There is a lot in that kid, he's just lost his way a bit."  Torre also said the decision was made to send McDonald down before last night's game, when he gave up six runs in 1.1 innings.
  • The Dodgers managed only one hit off Padres' starter Wade LeBlanc, a home run by Ronnie Belliard in the fifth inning.  The Dodgers added just one more hit, a double by Pedro Baez in the ninth inning.
  • I had the chance to see Mark Timmons of LADodgerTalk.com, and Chris & Alex Volk of Dodgerfan.net, as Dodger bloggers ran rampant with press credentials at Camelback Ranch!

For the moment, let's assume the opening day pitching staff has eight roster locks: Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, and Vicente Padilla as starters, and relievers Jonathan Broxton, George Sherrill, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Ramon Troncoso.  As Torre has said, he still has two weeks to make a decision, but if I had to guess right now, three of the final four spots will go to Eric Stults (fifth starter) and Charlie Haeger, both out of options, and Rule 5 pick Carlos Monasterios.  My guess for the final bullpen spot is a battle between Ramon Ortiz and Jeff Weaver, with Ortiz as the favorite.

Stults, who Tony Jackson of ESPN LA reported is being shopped by the Dodgers, starts tomorrow against Cleveland at Camelback Ranch.  Also scheduled to pitch are Ramon Troncoso and 2009 top draft pick Aaron Miller, getting his first action in big league camp.

Tonight's Box Score

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