Paul Maholm preparing as usual, but for an unknown role

Paul Maholm trying to surprise in Arizona - Christian Petersen

Paul Maholm may be the fifth or sixth starter on paper, but it is business as usual for him as he builds up his workload in preparation for the season, tossing three good innings in an eventual 5-5 tie with the Texas Rangers.

SURPRISE -- Paul Maholm went three solid innings for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the offense mustered up enough early runs to establish a 3-2 lead in a split-squad game with the Texas Rangers that ended in a 5-5 tie in Surprise Stadium today. The teams combined to score five runs in the first eight innings and then five in the ninth.

Maholm threw 41 pitches over the game's first three innings, struck out four batters and walked none, while allowing only three hits, two of which were of the very weak infield variety. The left-hander also induced an inning-ending double play in the second inning with two runners aboard and a run already plated.

After his outing, Maholm tossed another dozen or so pitches in the bullpen so that he was stretched into the 50-55 pitch range, matching the other starters. He was particularly pleased with his last inning of work noting that "to come back out in the third after sitting for awhile [because the Dodgers sent seven men to the plate and there was a pitching change by the Rangers] and to have a quick clean inning was good."

Maholm also felt his outing was effective because "my arm felt good, my pitches were working when I got ahead and I was able to get ground balls, with a few strikeouts."

Manager Don Mattingly agreed when asked about the portsider, stating that he "thought he was good, thought he was sharp."

The southpaw is one of six established starting pitchers battling for a rotation spot this spring and he is keenly aware of it, but he is "preparing for the season like my eleven other springs" with the knowledge that his performance can dictate the outcome. "If I pitch well, then everything is going to work out. If you pitch well, they find a spot for you," Maholm said, while acknowledging that spot could also be in the bullpen.

Seth Rosin followed with three innings of work allowing only an unearned run, so the Dodger effectively got a quality start from their first two scheduled pitchers. Rosin's workload is on a starter's path and Mattingly confirmed post-game that the rule 5 draftee will continue to be "built" that way.

Mattingly was also complimentary regarding Rosin's approach in training camp. "He just continues to work and work and work. We love to see a guy come into camp, he's working as hard as he can possibly work in every area. We'll see where it goes, but we like him."

Notes

  • Two ex-Mets trying to win a spot on the opening day roster provided much of the early offense. Justin Turner was perfect in his first three plate appearances, with two solid singles and a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored. Mike Baxter, batting behind him, followed with a single, a sacrifice fly and a sun-aided double for two RBIs. However, Turner also boot a potential inning-ending double-play grounder at shortstop in the fourth, extending that inning, but not leading to any scoring.
  • Adrian Gonzalez hit the hardest ball in the first seven innings for Los Angeles, lining so hard to left field that Scott Schebler was nearly doubled off first base. Miguel Olivo's double in the fourth inning was also well-struck. Gonzalez also continued to demonstrate that he is a true RBI man by drawing a bases-loaded walk for the Dodgers first run.
  • Joc Pederson struck out in all three of his plate appearances.
  • When asked if Matt Kemp was getting close to game action, Mattingly stated that "he's moving in that direction", but the manager didn't want to put a timetable on it.
  • Mattingly termed Zack Greinke's work today "almost like a first outing", and said that as long as he recovers well tomorrow they should be able to move forward with a normal spring progression for the right-hander.

Up next

Josh Beckett starts against the Mariners at Camelback Ranch tonight while Blake Beavan pitches for Seattle.

Saturday particulars

Home run: None

WP -  None

LP - None

Sv - None

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