SURPRISE, Ariz. — Based on how they’ve been used in the past and how they’ve pitched in spring training, Paul Maholm and Seth Rosin could both be in a major-league rotation this season. Yet if either pitcher makes the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster, it will probably be as a reliever.
That’s simply a function of where the numbers are right now; the Dodgers began camp with five healthy starters on guaranteed major-league contracts before bringing in Maholm and Rosin. Zack Greinke‘s mild calf injury aside, that hasn’t changed.
The 31-year-old Maholm has been a starter for his entire career, and he started Saturday. He threw more than 50 pitches — 41 in the first three innings of the Dodgers’ 5-5 against the Texas Rangers and another “12 or so” in the bullpen.
“I’m preparing for the season like I have for, I think this is my 11th spring,” Maholm said. “I’m going to try and get quick outs. The stuff with mechanics is stuff that you deal with during the season. I’m going to prepare and pitch whenever they tell me to. If I pitch well everything’s going to work out. I’m not concerned with roles or anything. You pitch well, they find a spot for you.”
Rosin is on a starter’s program too. The 25-year-old right-hander threw three innings (4, 5 and 6) while allowing only one unearned run before an announced crowd of 8,153 at Surprise Stadium. His third Cactus League appearance was easily his worst so far. He struggled with command, walking a batter and throwing a wild pitch, and also balked runners to second and third base in the fifth inning.
But he left the game with the Dodgers ahead 3-2. Rosin still hasn’t allowed an earned run in eight spring innings. He’s struck out 10 batters in eight innings and allowed only five hits.
“These guys are both being built as starters and right now that’s where we’re at,” Mattingly said, after declining to comment on the possibility that either would begin the season in the bullpen.
As for the game, the Dodgers got a pair of runs in the ninth inning off right-hander Roman Mendez to extend their lead to 5-2. Alex Guerrero was hit by a pitch in his only plate appearance and scored on an RBI single by minor-league outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker. J.C. Boscan singled home Scott Schebler.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Texas scored three runs off right-hander Henry Sosa, whom the Dodgers brought over from their minor-league camp for the day.
A forgettable third inning for Dodgers third baseman Brendan Harris led to the Rangers’ first run. Kevin Kouzmanoff laid a swinging bunt down the third-base line. Harris let it roll past him, only to see the ball stay fair for an infield single. A traditional outfield single by Mitch Moreland sent Kouzmanoff to third base. Kouzmanoff scored when Harris fielded Jim Adduci‘s ground ball on the run and threw about a foot short of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez‘s glove. Aducci was given an RBI and an infield single on the play.
The Dodgers got on the board in the third inning when Tanner Scheppers walked Adrian Gonzalez with the bases loaded. Scheppers was pulled and Nick Martinez (who attended Vin Scully’s alma mater) took over. In a fickle game of feet, Andre Ethier drilled a pitch from Martinez about 15 feet foul over the right-field fence. Martinez struck him out on the next pitch.
Texas tied the score at 2 on an unearned run against Seth Rosin in the fifth inning after Schebler dropped Michael Choice‘s a fly ball in right field for a two-base error.
The Dodgers staged a two-out rally against Armando Rodriguez in the sixth inning. Justin Turner walked, stole second base, and scored on a fly ball that Choice lost in the sun in center field. Turner was credited with an RBI double.
A couple more notes and observations:
• Turner finished 2-for-2 with a walk, raising his spring slash line to .375/.500/.500. He committed a fielding error at shortstop in the fourth inning on a routine ground ball hit by Moreland, and also made three clean plays for assists.
• Before his double, Olivo hit a similarly powerful ball to the right-field gap in the first inning. Unfortunately for him the wind was blowing in from right field and knocked down a potential home run. Olivo finished 1 for 3 as the designated hitter and is batting .250.
• Harris went 0-for-2 with a walk, lowering his Cactus League batting average to .188. He’s probably down to fourth in the group that includes Turner, Chone Figgins and Miguel Rojas vying for a utility role on a non-roster invitation.
• Joc Pederson was pulled an inning before the Dodgers’ other starting position players, but he’s healthy. Pederson played only four innings in the field because he’s starting the 6 p.m. game against the Seattle Mariners too.
• Regarding the Dodgers’ starting pitching assignments in Sydney, Australia, general manager Ned Colletti said that “I think it’s very likely we’re going to announce this the next couple days. Clayton is probably going to be on the mound there.” Mattingly declined to add to those comments after the game.