Dodgers 10, Angels 8: Postgame thoughts.

Don Mattingly dropped a revealing opinion, perhaps unexpectedly, in his postgame chat today.

It appeared that, an hour earlier, Ted Lilly had done an OK job in two innings out of the bullpen in his first appearance of spring training. Keep in mind that Lilly hadn’t pitched in a competitive game since Aug. 16 of last year. The veteran lefty got Erick Aybar to fly out, got rocked by Howie Kendrick (who finished 3-for-3 with a single, double and home run) for a longball, then retired the next four Angel batters he faced. Day over.

“Teddy, he seems a lot more like Aaron (Harang) to me, from my point of view,” Mattingly said. “Taking longer to get loose, taking longer to warm up, all that kind of stuff.”

In other words, not a good bullpen candidate.

That would seem to make Chris Capuano, by default, the Dodgers’ preferred choice to move from the rotation to the bullpen at this point in time. This is a point in time when eight starters are healthy, so take that with a grain of salt. Things can change in the next four weeks.

At the very least Mattingly’s opinion offers a framework for what the Dodgers might be thinking — stash Capuano in the bullpen as a sixth starter, and if Billingsley ends up needing Tommy John surgery (or another starter goes down in spring), insert either Lilly or Harang into the fifth starter’s slot. Otherwise, try to move one or both pitchers. That would agree with what I’ve heard from knowledgeable people outside the organization; people inside the organization have no reason to tip their hand pre-flop.

Lilly had to feel good about his performance regardless of how the manager reacted to it. It’s been a long time coming.
Some more notes:

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Tom Wright, a 54-year-old knuckleballer, is trying to make the Dodgers.

Tom Wright

I spent Thursday afternoon talking up two open-tryout participants on the back field at Camelback Ranch. One was disabled Navy veteran Doc Jacobs, whose story will appear in tomorrow’s editions. The other was Tom Wright, a 54-year-old high school teacher from Hawaii (via Livermore, California), whose story appears below.

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With first game in sight, Matt Kemp is ahead of Carl Crawford in Dodgers’ camp.

Matt Kemp

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly admitted that Matt Kemp is close to playing in his first spring training game, but the manager did everything in his power to avoid saying when that game will be.

There was no tiptoeing around when Carl Crawford would see the field: It won’t be for a while after his scheduled hitting session against live pitching Thursday was cancelled.

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