GLENDALE -- Dodgers left-hander Paul Maholm made his Cactus League debut on Sunday in a role he's not accustomed to, but one he may find himself quite familiar in 2014.
Maholm retired six of his seven batters faced in two scoreless innings against the Padres, pitching the third and fourth innings in relief of starter Josh Beckett.
"It feels good. Obviously it was only two innings and we're building up, but it felt good to get out there and put some pitch sequences together," Maholm said. "Getting to face the top four hitters in the lineup you get to face the guys you would face in the regular season."
Maholm is used to being a starting pitcher. In the minor leagues he made 42 starts and just one relief appearance. In nine years in the majors only one of his 243 appearances came in relief. Even in spring training, Maholm prior to Sunday started in 43 of his 46 games. That's 327 starts in 332 career appearances.
You'll excuse him if he is accustomed to a certain routine. But while Maholm may prefer starting, he has stated a willingness to pitch out of the bullpen if needed. But for now, relatively early in spring training, he remains on a starter's program, with decisions coming down the road.
"My whole thing since I've turned pro was to pitch well and make them make the tough decisions," Maholm said. "I don't have any control over it. All I can do is put my work in, stay healthy and pitch well, and hope things work out."
Sidelined early in camp with elbow tenderness, Maholm said he feels fine now.
"I missed the one BP that was a 15-pitch thing," Maholm said. "It was one of those things, hopefully you skip a day early and save yourself later in spring and get ready for the season."
Manager Don Mattingly was impressed with the 31-year-old left-hander's first appearance of the spring.
"He got over that little hurdle, missing a bullpen," Mattingly said. "He showed us that he still knows what he's doing."