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Fifth Starter Showdown as Dodgers Host Mariners

Mariners (9-14-1) at Dodgers (8-11-2)

1:05pm, Camelback Ranch, Glendale, AZ

Vin Scully is back on the air today, calling the game from Camelback Ranch on KCAL, as the Dodgers host the Mariners.  Fifth starter candidates Charlie Haeger and Russ Ortiz will pitch for the Dodgers.

Haeger sure sounds like the favorite for the fifth starter, especially given this from manager Joe Torre:

Haeger could go five or six today, we’re not concerned about building up his endurance. He’s done a good job and handled everything we’ve thrown at him. He can dominate a game when that thing’s working. He talked with Charlie Hough about how to pitch in certain environments. Florida should be fine, he said he enjoys pitching indoors too.

Emphasis mine.  The fifth starter will likely pitch April 10 in Florida.

If you would have told me a few months ago that Garret Anderson would talk about his former Angels' teammate Ramon Ortiz, and that both players would likely end up on the opening day roster for the Dodgers, I wouldn't have believed it.  However, here we are, per Dylan Hernandez's profile of the pitcher for the LA Times:

"He was basically a two-pitch pitcher back in the days," said Anderson, referring to Ortiz's fastball and slider.

Anderson said he's also seen a change in Ortiz's approach.

"He's more mature," Anderson said. "He's figured out: ‘This is what I've got and I'm going to make the best of it.' When he was younger, he was more all over the place, trying to do too much, being afraid of contact. I don't see that anymore."

Anderson's roster spot seems a lock now, since his competition for the left-handed pinch hitter role, Doug Mientkiewicz, has left camp. "I had a talk with Doug Mientkiewicz yesterday and told him it doesn't look like he'll make the team with Anderson around," said Torre, "I told him I'd love to have him around, but he'll take a day to think about his options."

It's looking like Hong-Chih Kuo will start the season on the disabled list, as Ken Gurnick of reported yesterday.  Assuming Kuo doesn't pitch in any remaining major league spring training games, the earliest date Kuo can be retroactively placed on the DL is March 26, meaning the earliest he can pitch is April 10 in Florida.

Also from the Gurnick article, we have the dates for the out clauses by which several non-roster invitees will be granted free agency if they aren't added to the 25-man roster:

Player Date
Mientkiewicz      April 2
Anderson April 4
Nick Green April 4
Ramon Ortiz April 4
Jeff Weaver April 4
Justin Miller May 1
Josh Towers June 15

Spotted around the Dodger clubhouse: Manny Ramirez wearing a t-shirt with the phrase "I've got 99 problems but my swing ain't one."

Here are the lineups:for

Mariners      Dodgers
RF Ichiro SS Furcal
2B Figgins CF Kemp
1B Kotchman   
RF Ethier
LF Bradley LF Manny
3B Lopez 1B Loney
C Moore 3B Blake
CF Patterson 2B DeWitt
SS Wilson C Ausmus    
P Snell   
P Haeger

David Aardsma is scheduled to pitch after Ian Snell for the Mariners.