Chris Capuano pitched seven innings against Indians minor leaguers on Monday afternoon at Camelback Ranch, and one has to wonder whether or not he has made his final start as a Dodger. Scouts from several teams were in attendance to watch Capuano, per both T.R. Sullivan and Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
Sullivan wrote that the Rangers watched Capuano, and are "uncertain of their fifth starter spot," which could be one of Michael Kirkman, Derek Lowe, or Nick Tepesch. Gurnick noted that scouts from the Mariners, Pirates, and the Indians were there in addition to Texas.
Capuano was facing Class-A hitters on Monday, and the results were about what one might expect. Capuano allowed just three hits and no runs in his seven innings, needing just 85 pitches. He hit a batter and struck out 11.
Both Sullivan and Gurnick noted scouts figure to be in attendance at Camelback Ranch on Tuesday night as well, when Aaron Harang gets the start for the Dodgers. Capuano, Harang, and Ted Lilly are the odd men out of the Dodgers' starting rotation, which consists of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, and Hyun-jin Ryu.
Both Capuano and Harang are in the final year of their contract, Capuano at $6 million and Harang at $7 million, though each have an option for 2014 as well. Capuano's is a mutual option for $8 million with a $1 million buyout, while Harang's is a club option for between $7-8 million that could vest with 180⅓ innings pitched in 2013, with a $2 million buyout.
Manager Don Mattingly on Sunday hinted at the possibility of keeping multiple excess starters on the active roster once the regular season opens, but that he wanted to discuss the shift with the pitchers first "so they could mentally wrap their arms around it."
"I think we have the ability to hold onto more (starters)," Mattingly said Sunday. "Pitching is pitching. If you're going to get three outs, you'll get three outs. It's just how you get them ready."