For many of the guys in this afternoon’s game against the Brewers this is just another spring training game. But for starting pitcher Eric Stults it’s an important audition for the fifth starter’s role.
Stults is one of four candidates remaining in the competition to be L.A.’s fifth starter, along with Eric Milton, Claudio Vargas and James McDonald. It was assumed that the losers in that competition immediately become candidates for the bullpen, but Joe Torre suggested before the game that he’s more comfortable with Vargas and/or McDonald out of the pen and was undecided about Milton and Stults in that role.
“Stults is more of a touch and feel guy who has to throw all of his pitches,” Torre said. “I still don’t see him as much of a bullpen option.”
So what does Stults need to do to impress his manager today?
“We’d like to see the guy who we saw when we called up last year,” Torre said. “We’d like to see that presence on the mound that we saw in his first couple of starts last year.”
Torre said Stults would throw about 65 pitches today, then Vargas would go about two innings. He mentioned that he talked to Vargas before the game about coming out of the bullpen if he chose someone else as the fifth starter and Vargas was OK with it.