Ted Lilly was originally scheduled to start Wednesday for the Dodgers against the San Diego Padres at Camelback Ranch, but instead will now pitch against Class A hitters in a minor league game on one the back fields at the facility.
Part of the reason for the switch was that Lilly's next start is against the San Diego Padres in Peoria on March 27, and the Dodgers face the Padres in seven of their first 10 games of the season. Manager Don Mattingly didn't want to give a divisional foe too many looks at Lilly before the games start to count. But Sunday's rain-shortened game against the Angels was a factor, too.
"As much as anything, from the rainout the other day, it pushed some relievers back. We have a bunch of guys, and I'd rather see them over here [in a major league game] than over there [on the minor league side]," Mattingly said. "We had three guys scheduled to pitch over there, and we just brought them all over."
The Dodgers want to increase Lilly's pitch count, which wouldn't leave enough innings for the other pitchers to pitch in the major league game. Lilly will throw to catcher Matt Treanor.
Jamey Wright gets the start for the Dodgers and is expected to throw two innings. Wright, on his seventh consecutive season as a non-roster invitee to spring training, is one of several candidates for the final bullpen spot and with 13 years of MLB service time he is the most experienced of the group.
Juan Uribe had the worst season of his career last season, hitting .204/.264/.293 with four home runs in 77 games in an injury-riddled season. So far in Cactus League play, Uribe has five singles in 23 at-bats, hitting .217/.308/.217.
"It doesn't matter how many hits he gets during spring training, it matters what he does during the season," Mattingly said of Uribe. "If we're going to go off stats down here, that's just silly."
Mattingly has noticed an improvement in Uribe's approach at the plate from last year to this year. "His swing seems to be a little quieter for me. That's one of the things [hitting coach Dave Hansen] has talked about, being a little less violent in his swing," Mattingly said.
Uribe will be the regular third baseman to start the season, barring injury, pretty much no matter what happens here in Arizona. But that doesn't mean he has a long leash.
"There are times he has looked really good, and there are times he hasn't looked good. We're going to have to see," Mattingly said. "Number one, Juan needs to be healthy....If he struggles and struggles, I'm going to put a guy out there that's going to give us a chance to win."
Old friend and former cyclist Orlando Hudson has battled a strained right groin for a week, and is back in the lineup today for the first time since March 13.
Game Time: 1:05 p.m. PDT
TV: Prime Ticket (Eric Collins & Steve Lyons)