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Yimi Garcia to start for Dodgers in opener with Phillies

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- At least now we know why manager Don Mattingly was evasive when talking about what role Eric Surkamp would play on Monday night against the Phillies. The Dodgers announced Monday they will start relief pitcher Yimi Garcia in the series opener against Philadelphia at Dodger Stadium.

"Surkamp is coming up," Mattingly confirmed on Sunday.

To start?

"I'm not sure about that," Mattingly said.

Well then who will start?

"We're just not ready to announce," Mattingly said. "It's not that big a secret."

Garcia threw 14 pitches last Wednesday and five more on Saturday, his only appearances in the previous six days. He has lasted past one inning five times in 39 appearances this season. Garcia's last start came on July 24, 2011 with rookie-level Ogden.

The plan, as far as I can guess, is for Garcia to pitch the first inning or two, ideally allowing the Dodgers to pinch hit for the pitcher's spot the first time through the order, with Surkamp following on the mound.

This also assures rookie Maikel Franco, also known as the only real hitter in the Phillies lineup, will not face a left-hander his first time up. Franco is hitting .297/.345/.531 with 10 home runs in 48 games, including .235/.381/.588 with four home runs in 42 PA against southpaws.

Hopefully Surkamp can last longer than the three innings Ian Thomas did on June 2 in the first game of a doubleheader, the last time the Dodgers over-thought a spot starter situation.