Chris Capuano: Starter or reliever?

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Chris Capuano said Tuesday that he’d rather start than pitch out of the bullpen, but that might not be a possibility with the Dodgers. With eight starting pitchers in camp, jobs are scarce – essentially two spots for five pitchers.

Would he rather pitch out of the bullpen here, or start somewhere else?

“That’s a great question,” he said. “I want to be part of this organization and what’s going on here,” he said. “Most importantly I want to win. At this point of my career, I want to be part of something special. I would certainly have to think about it if the time came for that conversation.”
Capuano has made 25 appearances out of the bullpen in his career with mostly good results. There isn’t much room in the Dodgers’ bullpen, but the 34-year-old could give the team a reliable multi-inning option and spot starter that wouldn’t otherwise exist. If Capuano likes that role, the Dodgers should consider giving it to him.

But he wants to start.

“Physically I feel like I can go out there and put up 200-plus quality innings,” he said. “If I feel like I can do that, it would be tough for me to move to a bullpen role.

“However, I did do that coming back from an injury in 2010 in Milwaukee. I always thought that I’m a starter, that’s it. I realized after a couple months in the bullpen – I learned a lot about how to do it. It would have to be the right circumstances.”

Capuano’s contract will pay him $6 million this season. It does not include a no-trade clause, but it does include a mutual option for 2014 or a $1 million buyout. That’s not terribly cost prohibitive given the current market rate for starting pitchers, but it’s not cheap either.

“I feel healthy. I feel strong. I feel like I’m throwing the ball great,” he said. “I hope to be with the Dodgers,” he said. “Any rumors that I usually here, that’s not what ends up happening. I try to just focus on my preparation because no matter what, it doesn’t change what I need to do.”

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.