It is getting to that point in the spring when relief pitchers start throwing on back-to-back days once or twice to get them ready for the regular season. This weekend, six Dodgers relievers will throw both days, beginning with this afternoon's matchup at Camelback Ranch against the Cleveland Indians.
Mike MacDougal, Todd Coffey, and Kenley Jansen will pitch against Cleveland on Saturday, then against Kansas City Royals Class A players in a minor league game at Camelback Ranch on Sunday.
Both Javy Guerra and Scott Elbert threw on back-to-back days in similar fashion early in the week, pitching in Goodyear on Monday and against minor league hitters at Camelback Ranch on Tuesday.
In addition, both Jerry Sands and Tony Gwynn Jr. will play on the minor league side today in an effort to get extra at-bats against live pitching. In minor league games, the rules and relaxed a bit such that major league players can bat every inning if they so desire. Manager Don Mattingly said this morning that Gwynn also specifically wanted to get some extra work in left field, a position he has played all of 21 innings this spring.
Chris Capuano starts today for the Dodgers, making his fourth Cactus League start of the spring. Old friend Derek Lowe, whose 135 starts from 2005-2008 is the 20th most starts by an Los Angeles Dodger, starts for Cleveland.
Clayton Kershaw starts Sunday on five days rest for the Dodgers, and will get an extra day of rest before his final spring start, next Saturday at Salt River Fields against the Arizona Diamondbacks, as well. The March 31 start is expected to be a light start according to Mattingly. For reference, Kershaw threw 39 pitches over 3 1/3 innings in his final spring start last season, five days before his opening day nod against the Giants.
- Matt Guerrier threw to Dodgers minor league hitters at Camelback Ranch on Friday and reported no issues with his back. He is scheduled to pitch next in a minor league game on Monday.
- Ted Lilly has a stiff neck that will keep him from throwing his bullpen session today. Lilly battled neck problems last year that caused him to skip several bullpen sessions in between starts in June and July.
- Justin Sellers is likely out a couple of days with a skin rash.
- Non-roster invitee Scott Rice, whose locker is the only full stall in a 14-locker stretch in the Dodgers clubhouse (everyone who was around him has already been assigned to minor league camp), has strep throat and will be sent home early today.
Here are a few pitches each from some of the young pitching talent on display Friday for the Dodgers at Tucson against the White Sox. First, here is Zach Lee, who kept alive the superstition of not touching the foul line:
We got a chance to speak with Lee after the game, and the 20-year old has already mastered the art of the cliched answer. But here he is talking a bit about his decision of baseball over football, turning down a scholarship to play quarterback at LSU.
"I pictured myself doing both [baseball and football]. As kids we're all ambitious and trying to do more than we really can. Growing up I thought let's just see where we can go with both sports," Lee said. "Once I got to a certain age, I realized I would have to pick one sport over the other.
"One of the biggest things making that decision, I wanted to make sure I had no regrets and moved forward to go after the dream and the goal," Lee added.
Here is Allen Webster...
...and finally, Chris Reed
Game Time: 1:05 p.m. PDT
TV: KCAL (Charley Steiner & Rick Monday); also for free on MLB.tv
Radio: KTNQ 1020 AM; also, the Indians broadcast can be heard on MLB Gameday Audio.