Spring training 2013: No regulars in Dodgers starting lineup

Stephen Dunn

Vin Scully will call Thursday's game between the Dodgers and Rangers, his third game this spring. For the third time, Scully will see a Dodgers lineup devoid of many regulars.

The usual rule for spring training games is that four major league players must start, though the vague definition of the rule makes it nearly impossible to enforce. In most cases that rule is in play for the road team, who might be inclined to keep its veterans from making a long bus trip if they don't absolutely have to. But today, that rule could apply to the Dodgers.

This is the Dodgers' lineup as they face the Rangers on Thursday at Camelback Ranch:

Gordon SS
Amezaga 2B
Puig LF
Moore RF
Herrera 3B
Federowicz C
Gwynn CF
Van Slyke 1B
Castro DH

If you are counting, that is four non-roster invitees in the starting lineup, plus another player from minor league camp in Scott Van Slyke. Of the four starters on the 40-man roster, catcher Tim Federowicz has the best chance to make the Dodgers this year while Dee Gordon, Elian Herrera, and Yasiel Puig are all probably headed for the minors to begin the season.

Chad Bilingsley starts for the Dodgers, and he counts toward the required major leaguers. Federowicz probably counts too, and an argument could be made that the 821 combined major league plate appearances in 2012 for Gordon, Herrera, and Tony Gwynn Jr. could loosely count as a regular or two.

But what is interesting is that Vin Scully is now three for three in generally weak lineups during spring training. Scully will call Thursday's game on Prime Ticket, and here are the Dodgers' starting lineups for his two previous games this spring:

Feb. 25 vs. Cubs:

Gordon SS
Schumaker 2B
Hairston RF
Uribe 1B
Punto DH
Castellanos CF
Castro C
Amezaga 3B
Gwynn LF

Feb. 28 vs. Angels:

Schumaker CF
Ellis 2B
Ethier DH
Cruz 3B
Moore LF
Ellis C
Punto SS
Uribe 1B
Amezaga RF

That's four out of a possible 27 lineup positions occupied by planned opening day starters, and 11 out of 27 spots occupied by those likely on the opening day roster.

It's more coincidence than anything else, as manager Don Mattingly generally has his regulars play two games followed by one game off to work on technique. Couple that with various injuries, three starters currently playing in the World Baseball Classic, and the Dodgers in the middle of playing five games in three days and needing pretty much all hands on deck Wednesday and Friday, and you have Thursday's lineup.

Welcome to spring training.

Here is the Rangers' lineup against the Dodgers on Thursday:

Kinsler 2B
Gentry RF
Murphy LF
Beltre 3B
Baker DH
Pierzynski C
Moreland 1B
Martin CF
Profar SS

Randy Wells is scheduled to start on the mound for Texas, and old friend Josh Lindblom will pitch the ninth inning for the Rangers if needed.

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