GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers will open Cactus League play on Wednesday against the White Sox with Erik Bedard on the mound, one day before his 36th birthday. Clayton Kershaw will start on Thursday, also against Chicago.
The non-roster invitee is fighting for a spot in camp, though because the veteran Bedard is only seen as a starter it would take an injury in camp for him to break though, before even considering his competition.
"He started off really well last year, then kind of fizzled. We'll get him in camp and see what he looks like," manager Don Mattingly said Saturday. "We'll leave it open. There are a lot of guys outside of our five guys we have slated that are competing and building up toward a season. We'll see where that goes over camp."
Bedard was 4-6 with a 4.75 ERA in 17 games, including 15 starts, with 64 strikeouts and 29 walks in 75⅔ innings with the Rays in 2014 before getting released in August.
"It's tough with the older guys and getting ready. I'm not trying to judge his bullpens and BP," Mattingly said. "These guys know when to turn it up. I just know him from the past. He knows how to pitch, he can get to both sides of the plate."
We don't yet know who will start for the White Sox on Wednesday or Thursday, but it won't be Chris Sale, who is out at least three weeks after suffering a fracture in his right foot on Friday.
Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt usually builds a spring schedule for his pitchers moving backward from the regular season, so assuming Kershaw will start on opening day on April 6 against the Padres — this hasn't yet been officially announced, though Mattingly jokingly said earlier this week, "I'm not going to announce anything until we talk to our candidate," singular — by starting Kershaw on Thursday it allows for him to get an extra day of rest in between starts twice during spring training.
First time through the rotation, starting pitchers are scheduled to throw roughly two innings, followed by a simulated inning in the bullpen.
The Dodgers have a split squad with two simultaneous games on Friday, against the Mariners at Camelback Ranch and against the Brewers in Maryvale. The club hasn't yet announced the starters for those two games, but figure to be Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu as long as both continue to progress from their respective setbacks.
"We're not going to rush them out there just because we had a plan," Mattingly said.
Greinke has thrown two bullpen sessions after getting a lubricating injection in his right elbow, and is scheduled to pitch a bullpen session today, too. Ryu will play catch today, and is tentatively scheduled for a bullpen session on Monday, after sitting out a few days with back spasms.
The split squad Friday throws a bit of a wrench into Mattingly's normal early spring plan of playing his regulars two straight games followed by an "off day" of working in the batting cages and on the practice fields. That means some regulars will start Wednesday and some will start Thursday, followed by nearly everyone playing Friday before settling into a routine.
"I'm going to have to stagger my starters those first two games," Mattingly said.