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Zach Lee submits his audition for Dodgers' 5th starter spot

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX -- Zach Lee got his best chance to earn the fifth starter job the first time through the Dodgers' rotation with a start on Saturday night in a 5-4 win over the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.

Lee scattered eight hits in 4⅔ innings, allowing two runs, allowing single runs in the second and fourth frames. Lee on Saturday was in many ways a less extreme version of Carlos Frias, with nine ground ball outs compared to three fly ball outs, but no strikeouts.

But Lee was also less effective than Frias was, at least the Frias from Friday night, which could tilt the sales in Frias's favor for that April 8 start in San Francisco. For Lee, who was already optioned on March 20, just getting the opportunity to still compete for the role is a positive at this point.

"Going into spring training I was always trying to compete for a job. That never changed when I got sent down. There was still some uncertainty there," Lee said. "They did a decent job when I was sent down that it was more that I needed innings, and that was the best way of doing it."

The innings for Frias and Lee in one final audition could come during the Freeway Series, depending on how many innings are needed for Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda and Alex Wood. Frias could conceivably piggyback on Wednesday with Clayton Kershaw, who will pitch a shortened effort in his final tuneup for opening day.

Lee said he wasn't told yet when or where he would pitch next.

Notes

Justin Turner was 2-for-2 with a double and a walk on Saturday, and in seven Cactus League games is hitting a scorching .647 (11-for-17) with a team-leading six doubles.

Adrian Gonzalez was 2-for-3 with a double of his own.

Cody Bellinger (2013 draft) and Willie Calhoun (2015) hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning in a power display by a pair of Dodgers fourth-round picks.

Hyun-jin Ryu added breaking pitches to his bullpen session on Saturday. Visual proof:

Up next

Kenta Maeda makes his final Arizona exhibition start on Sunday afternoon against the Reds in a 1:05 p.m. PT game that will be televised by SportsNet LA and broadcast on radio on 1150 AM.