It's True Blue LA night at Dodger Stadium, and the Dodgers don't lose on True Blue LA Night. Carlos Monasterios, the Rule 5 pick who manager Joe Torre said came into spring training as "a decided underdog," is making his first big league start. Torre praised Monasterios' fastball and change, noting that he stood out because he threw a lot of strikes, something Torre didn't see in the regular season "until his last two or three outings." Monasterios earned the start tonight with his 2 2/3 inning performance in Washington last Saturday, the first win of his career.
Here are some highlights from Joe Torre's pregame session with the media:
- Ramon Ortiz will likely be the first man out of the bullpen tonight, unless Monasterios is able to stretch his roughly 70-75 pitches into a longer (five or six inning) outing
- Jeff Weaver looked good throwing his bullpen session today, and is scheduled to pitch one game on a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday with the Inland Empire 66ers in Lake Elsinore (a 7:05pm start). Weaver will almost certainly be activated Friday, the first day he is eligible to come off the disabled list. He will resume his situational role, pitching an inning at a time at most, as opposed to the long man role he played last year. Torre said he trusts Weaver in big situations.
- Torre praised Ronald Belisario's outing last night, in which the reliever retired all five batters he faced. Torre said the movement on Belisario's pitches was amazing, and that he is available to pitch tonight if needed
- Chad Billingsley was pitching well enough to start the seventh inning last night, but was removed for pinch hitter Ronnie Belliard with the bases loaded and one out. Torre said Billingsley would have hit for himself in almost any other situation. Torre said when he removed Billingsley for a pinch hitter last Sunday in Washington (the Dodgers lost 1-0 to the Nationals), Billingsley didn't want to come out and deadpanned, "I'm having the best at-bats."
- Clayton Kershaw will pitch Tuesday, and Billingsley Wednesday, against Milwaukee. Thursday's starter still hasn't been announced, but will likely be John Ely.
- Casey Blake is the only regular expected to rest Sunday, and Russell Martin will likely catch both games this weekend.
In other news, Garrett Jones is out of tonight's lineup for the Pirates, reports Jennifer Langosch of MLB.com. Jones got food stuck in his esophagus last night, and spent all day today in the hospital.
Here are the lineups:
Xeifrank's simulation of today's game is here.
Game Time: 7:10pm
TV: Prime Ticket