Don Mattingly hasn’t filled out his lineup card yet for tomorrow’s Cactus League opener against the Chicago White Sox. But the Dodgers manager revealed Friday that he’s planning to start Andre Ethier in right field, Skip Schumaker in center field and Jerry Hairston Jr. in left.
Clayton Kershaw is expected to start and pitch roughly two innings, which would give the Dodgers the minimum four regulars that teams must use in exhibition games. “Regulars” has taken on some loose definitions in the past, but at least none of these four players will start the season in Triple-A.
“We’re going to use our guys,” Mattingly said. “We have to get them ready. Our number one objective is to get guys ready. During that, there are rules … within that, as far as pitchers and how we’re doing it, you’re trying to get your team ready knowing that you’ll have guys that are out there.”
A.J. Ellis will catch. After Kershaw, the plan calls for Stephen Fife, Matt Magill, Mark Lowe, Ronald Belisario, Kelvin de la Cruz and Gregory Infante to pitch. Mattingly said that Tim Federowicz is in line to catch Sunday against the Chicago White Sox.
Expect Hairston, Hanley Ramirez, Nick Punto, Luis Cruz and Adrian Gonzalez to play the most games of any regulars over the next week. They’re the only Dodgers, along with pitcher Ronald Belisario, slated to play in the World Baseball Classic in March. Mattingly said he’ll give them three at-bats, the non-WBC players two, and all regular position players will be on the two-days-on, one-day-off schedule of years past. On days they don’t play in spring games, the Dodgers regulars will do work in the batting cages.