Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks starting lineups, travel roster for Cactus League opener

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw starts the spring opener for the Dodgers, against Brandon McCarthy for Arizona.

GLENDALE -- As the Dodgers prepare for their Cactus League opener on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks, Tuesday was a relatively light day in camp at Camelback Ranch.

Practices were shorter, with the highlight of Josh Beckett and Paul Maholm each throwing two innings of live batting practice to minor league hitters on the back fields. Maholm had elbow tenderness earlier in camp and came out of his first bullpen session last week with no problems.

Beckett is coming off surgery to relieve nerve pressure caused by Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. The Dodgers have him on a deliberately slower program in getting ready for the season (an unintentional homage to his Trachselian pace on the mound), with the plan of having him stay behind to pitch in minor league games in Arizona while the team goes to Australia.

Manager Don Mattingly has been encouraged by Beckett's health this spring.

"It's been encouraging because the winter has been good. It's kind of like Bills [Chad Billingsley, coming off Tommy John sugery]," Mattingly said. "Everything has been positive, there have been no real setbacks. That makes us hopeful. But because of the 10-12 guys who have had this, you don't really know."

Clayton Kershaw gets the start for the Dodgers in the opener on Wednesday for the Dodgers, but regulars A.J. Ellis, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez won't make the trip to Scottsdale.

The general plan during spring training, even in the Dodgers' truncated version this year, is for regulars to play two games, then get one "off" day, usually spent working on specific things in the batting cage. Mattingly said he tried to stagger the off days so there won't be many games with no regulars. In other words, expect the full regular lineup on Thursday when the two teams meet again at Camelback Ranch.

An informal rule is that, generally, each team must start four regulars, but the term "regular" usually has a very loose definition, sometimes stretched to "has a chance to be on the big league roster."

With Ramirez out on Wednesday, Chone Figgins gets the first crack at shortstop, with fellow non-roster utility man candidate Justin Turner starting at designated hitter. Joc Pederson starts in center field and Scott Van Slyke at first base, with Tim Federowicz at catcher.

Brandon McCarthy will start on the mound for Arizona.

Because it is spring training, and early in spring training, the regulars will not play the entire game. As such there are scheduled backups at every position. For the Dodgers on Wednesday that means Drew Butera at catcher, Clint Robinson at first base, Dee Gordon at second base, Brendan Harris at third, Miguel Rojas at shortstop, Mike Baxter in left field, Nick Buss in center, and Jeremy Hazelbaker in right field.

Hazelbaker, who was acquired from the Red Sox on Oct. 23 for Alex Castellanos, is one of a few from minor league camp making the trip, along with middle infielder Darnell Sweeney, the Dodgers' 13th round pick in 2012, and first baseman / outfielder Jamie Romak.

Catchers Chris O'Brien and Griff Erickson will also make the trip, as will pitchers Sam Demel, Jose Dominguez, Javy Guerra, Seth Rosin, Ross Stripling and Daniel Moskos. It's likely there will be a few pitchers from minor league camp as well, but they weren't on the list.

Mattingly said the Dodgers will likely use a designated hitter during games until "around March 8," when pitchers will start hitting.

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