Outside of the news that Matt Kemp will be in center field for the first time this spring, the most interesting tidbits out of the Dodgers’ camp this morning regarded the starting rotation.
The Dodgers re-assigned Gregory Infante to their minor-league camp this morning. A longshot to make the team, Infante allowed four earned runs in 1 1/3 innings over two outings. “We can always bring him back if we know we need an inning,” Don Mattingly said.
That could be today, since Ted Lilly was scratched from his scheduled relief outing with the flu. Lilly’s surgically repaired left shoulder is fine, but keeping it on schedule will be tricky since hasn’t thrown the last two days.
“Teddy’s going to hopefully throw a side (session) tomorrow,” Mattingly said. “He’s missed a couple days. That kind of bumps him out, but he’s going to end up throwing one of those games on (Friday).”
The Dogders have split-squad games against the San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds on Friday.
On Thursday, the Dodgers will host the Texas Rangers, while Josh Beckett will pitch in a minor-league game at Camelback Ranch. Mattingly said he wanted to line up Beckett to pitch in turn on Thursday and again March 12 against the Cincinnati Reds.
That latter date is significant, since it ought to line up Beckett two days after Clayton Kershaw (March 10 against Colorado) and one day after either Zack Greinke or Hyun-Jin Ryu (March 11 against Milwaukee). Mattingly has already named Kershaw his Opening Day starter, and Greinke is the presumed number two. That schedule puts Beckett in line to be the Dodgers’ number three.
Mattingly said he hasn’t planned that far ahead, but it would make sense if he has.
“It kind of lines (Beckett) up to get extra rest late,” the manager said. “I think two times in a row he gets an extra day. As we’re throwing more pitches, it makes sense for him to get extra rest.”
Taking a closer look at the Dodgers’ schedule, Kershaw, Greinke and Beckett would get an extra day’s rest on the Dodgers’ final two off-days of spring (March 13 and March 31, the day before the season opener) assuming all stay healthy and on schedule. The fourth and fifth starters — whoever they are — would line up to pitch March 14 and 15 (the latter being a split-squad day), March 19 and 20, March 24 and 25, and March 29 and 30.
That seems to be the Dodgers’ plan, at least for now. With eight starters in camp, it’s still hard to decipher the plan for the back end of the rotation. At least the top three seem to be lining up.