Big day for Stults

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.

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  • thinkblue

    it appears as though the pressure was more than Stults could bear.

  • Tim Chaney

    Hurry up and sign Pedro Martinez. Right the wrong of decisions past.

  • Marcel

    James McDonald > 2009 Pedro Martinez

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    Agree with Marcel. National league hitters are not the Netherlands. Based on the reports I read, Pedro’s velocity has simply not returned. I’m not sure if he can even hit 90 anymore. Perhaps he can reinvent himself and become a successful junk pitcher. I’m sure he still has the great change. Problem is, the difference in velocity between his change and fastball isn’t what it used to be.

    At this stage of their careers, the young, inexperienced McDonald is probably less of a risk than the savvy, veteran Martinez. Somehow, someway, I believe that the Dodgers will come up with a reliable 5th starter, be it McDonald, Schmidt, another young pitcher in the Dodgers organization, or a pitcher obtained in a trade. In the meantime, the Dodgers appear well positioned with their current four starters, and there should be enough offense generated to keep them at least in contention until the final slot is filled. Let’s remember, it’s a long season, and there’s lots of time to find a resolution to this problem.

  • phillydodger

    here’s an idea…since practically know one can name a quality fifth starter for any major league team, why not just go back to a four man rotation?

    i am so sick of hearing about another minor league reject or savy vet who is an “innings eater,” which is code for a sub .500 pitcher who won’t give up a 3 run homer in the first innning.

    i love to know the best winning record of a fifth starter in the last 10 or 20 years?

  • Sad for Stults, but tomorrow we’ll see about McDonald.