Josh Beckett starts Tuesday, and the immediate future of the Dodgers’ rotation.

Josh Beckett

Associated Press photo

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly confirmed that Josh Beckett will come off the disabled list and start tomorrow’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, “barring anything unforeseen happening today.”

Beckett missed only one start after being placed on the disabled list July 8. Paul Maholm stepped in and threw six shutout innings against the San Diego Padres on July 12.

The Dodgers will need to make a corresponding roster move when Beckett is activated from the DL. The most likely candidate to come off the roster is left-hander Paco Rodriguez, if only because he can be optioned to Triple-A and the Dodgers will still have two left-handed pitchers in the bullpen: Maholm and J.P. Howell.

The Dodgers have days off on Thursday and Monday. Will Mattingly reshuffle the rotation?

Dan Haren has lost three straight starts while posting a 9.64 earned-run average. By skipping his next turn, aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke would each pitch this weekend against the San Francisco Giants and next week against the Atlanta Braves.

“It’s not something we’re willing to talk about at this point,” Mattingly said. “We know who’s going to pitch these next three games. From there, we start having some options. We want to make sure everybody knows where they’re going to be so their work schedule goes along with that.”

Chad Billingsley’s season is in jeopardy after MRI reveals torn flexor tendon in right elbow.

Chad Billingsley

Chad Billingsley made two rehab starts for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga this season and didn’t make it out of the second inning in either appearance. (Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Twitter)

Chad Billingsley‘s season is in jeopardy after an MRI scan Thursday revealed a partial tear of the flexor tendon in his right elbow.

Though surgery is commonly performed, Billingsley is planning to discuss his options with team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache in the coming days before deciding on a course of action.

The prognosis for recovery from torn flexor tendon surgery varies greatly.
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Dan Haren has a curious explanation for why he’s better late in games.

Dan Haren

Dan Haren allowed six hits and four runs Tuesday, all in the first four innings. (Getty Images)

Dan Haren has some unusual pitching splits this season, and an unconventional explanation to go with it.

Opponents were hitting .299 against Haren the first two times through the batting order prior to Tuesday night’s 4-1 loss. His performance against the Chicago White Sox was true to form. Chicago scored all its runs the first two times through the order against Haren, batting .294 until the lineup turned over again.

Haren only allowed one hit after that. The White Sox went 1-for-7 in the fifth and sixth innings against Haren. That was likewise true to form; opponents were hitting .222 against him the third time through the order prior to Tuesday.

So, what gives?

“The velocity is kind of up and down for me. I thrown it a little bit harder (recently), which might be a bad thing actually. As the game went along today I backed off a little bit and got a lot of ground balls. That’s something I’ve got to look at, what my ball is doing at what velocities because it might be better for me to back off.”

Haren agreed that he typically gets less movement the harder he throws.

“That’s what I’m going to be looking at. I’ve just got to figure it out. It’s been a few starts now where it’s kind of been the same story. I can’t keep going like this. Something’s got to change.”

Haren hasn’t won since May 12 against the Miami Marlins, a span of four starts. Wins and losses are famously fickle, but the 33-year-old veteran confessed it’s getting frustrating. Though he had a fairly consistent month of May, Haren has seen his ERA rise from 2.03 in April to 3.50 after Tuesday’s loss:

We’ll check back with Haren to see what he gleans from the next video session.

Daily Distractions: A scout’s take on Erisbel Arruebarrena.

Erisbel Arruebarrena

Infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena is batting .136 for the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate.

Erisbel Arruebarrena provided a nice distraction during spring training. Reporters covering the Dodgers spent countless minutes rolling our “R”s, trying to pronounce Arruebarrena, figuring out how many “U”s were in the name, and mostly waiting for the 24-year-old shortstop to arrive in the U.S.

When he finally did get his visa and arrive in spring training on March 13, the Cuban shortstop was shuffled to the Dodgers’ minor-league camp. Then the major-leaguers left for Australia. Hardly anyone got to see the kid play baseball.

Nearly two months later there he is, taking up a space on the 40-man roster and $25 million of the Dodgers’ payroll over the next five years. Ever since Arruebarrena reported to Double-A Chattanooga, he’s proceeded to bat .136/.188/.220, which hardly seems to justify a $25 million contract. Was this signing a mistake? Was rolling my “R”s one big time-killerrrrrr?

A pro scout who recently watched Arruebarrena in the Southern League chimed in with this report.

I’d say Erisbel’s current offensive numbers are an accurate representation of his abilities – he has a long/loopy swing, almost like a golf swing that struggles to make contact with any type of pitch. He has serious recognition problems vs. AA-effective secondary stuff, turning his back early & often vs. almost all curveballs/sliders. Those things combined lead to rare contact on mistake fastballs only, or if a pitcher makes a bad decision to throw him the same loopy curveball three times in a row.

That said, him at SS is sometimes awesome to watch; way above instincts, really easy/super-quick receive-and-throw actions deep in the hole or going up the middle with a really good feel to complete very tough plays. He did flash a couple mental errors, like dropping a popup or ball bouncing off his glove with the infield in. Even with the bat how it is now I’d like to have him in my organization, because his floor is first-division middle infield-utility. As he gets comfortable over the next couple seasons in the US I think his feel/baseball IQ will improve a bit/less mental errors on both sides. I see him as a mid-.500s OPS guy but with major league top-5 shortstop defense.

Make of that what you will. It’s the most up-to-date scouting report we have on a player we know little about, perhaps the least known member of the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.

Some bullet points for a Europe Day:
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Dodgers place Brian Wilson on the disabled list, Jose Dominguez up for series finale in San Diego.

Brian Wilson

Dodgers pitcher Brian Wilson faced five batters without recording an out Sunday in San Diego. On Wednesday, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow ulnar nerve inflammation. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff photographer)

Jose Dominguez was back in the Dodgers’ clubhouse Wednesday, making it safe to say a trend has emerged.

Five games into the season, the Dodgers haven’t had the same 25-man roster for more than two games in a row.

Brian Wilson was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 31, with right elbow ulnar nerve inflammation. Dominguez was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque, where he did not make an appearance, and is available for tonight’s game at 7 p.m. Dominguez allowed three runs in one-third of an inning March 23 in Sydney, Australia.

Dominguez was optioned to Albuquerque during the seven-day downtime that followed. Clayton Kershaw was placed on the 15-day disabled list. With Kershaw out and Josh Beckett expected to make a rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga, the rotation for this weekend’s series against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium became official.

Hyun-Jin Ryu starts Friday against Ryan Vogelsong, Paul Maholm starts Saturday against Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke starts Sunday against Matt Cain.

Looking a couple days ahead: The Dodgers announced that tickets are still available for Friday’s game at Dodger Stadium with the purchase of a 30-game miniplan. Of course, the secondary ticket marketplace is rife with single-game ticket options (see here, here, here and here). The public address announcer will be a familiar voice: Ross Porter, who spent 28 years as a Dodgers broadcaster beginning in 1977.

Here are the lineups for both teams for the rubber match of the three-game series at Petco Park:
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Spring training ends poorly for Dodgers’ Dan Haren.

Miguel Rojas

Miguel Rojas, who grounded out on this at-bat Saturday, finished spring training with a .387 batting average, second on the Dodgers to Justin Turner’s .389. (Associated Press photo)

ANAHEIM — Dan Haren‘s final spring tuneup was one to forget.

The right-hander allowed all six Angels runs in a 6-2 Dodgers loss before an announced crowd of 43,553 at Angel Stadium on Saturday.

The Dodgers resume regular-season play tomorrow in San Diego. It’s the Padres’ first game of the season. Opening Day for most major-league teams is Monday.

Last weekend, the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks twice in Sydney, Australia and have a regular-season record of 2-0. They came back and lost two of three to the Angels, officially finishing spring training with a 7-12-5 record.

Haren didn’t go to Australia. Since the Dodgers only needed two starting pitchers (and kept Paul Maholm for insurance), Haren stayed behind and pitched minor-league spring training games in Arizona.

The playing environment changed dramatically Saturday. Haren went from games with no official statistics and no names on the back of players’ jerseys to a sold-out stadium. The change seemed to have caught him by surprise.

The Angels scored two runs in the first inning on back-to-back RBI doubles by Albert Pujols and David Freese. In the second inning, Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun hit back-to-back home runs.

Trout’s home run came on a hanging split-fingered fastball, Haren said, while almost all of the Angels’ other hard hits came off his cut fastball. Haren allowed six hits in two innings.

“It was just kind of getting it a little bit flat,” Haren said of his cutter. “I have to have the mindset of driving it down and away to a righty rather than just leaving it out there.

“I’m going to throw quite a few of them in the bullpen. I need to get that sharpened up. My other pitches were actually OK. I struggled with it last start too in the minor leagues. I threw a bunch in the last inning of that game.”

Haren starts Wednesday in San Diego, the finale of the three-game series with the Padres. His final major-league spring training ERA: 6.00.

“It’s the last one that doesn’t count,” Haren said. “No use thinking about it too much. I got some work in. It’s been a while since I felt like I’ve been on a mound, it seems like, at least in a real game. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. I feel OK. Just flush it down and move on to the next one.”

Said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly: ”I’m glad it’s tonight and not Wednesday.”

The Dodgers scored both of their runs in the third inning on a two-run double by Chone Figgins. Most of the starters played only two defensive innings.

It was a good day for the Dodgers’ bullpen. Against almost entirely major-league competition, they combined for six scoreless innings: One by Brandon League, three by Matt Magill and two by Red Patterson.

The box score is here.

A few more notes:
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Dan Haren takes the ball in the Dodgers’ final exhibition game against the Angels.

Dan Haren

Dodgers starter Dan Haren pitched for the Angels from 2010-12. (Associated Press)

ANAHEIM — Dan Haren will face Tyler Skaggs today in the Dodgers’ final exhibition game before the regular season resumes Sunday in San Diego.

Because Sunday’s game is just down the Interstate 5, the Dodgers’ starters will catch a bus in the middle of the game to the team hotel in San Diego. The rest of the team will depart after the game. We already have a firm idea of who will be on the 25-man roster that is due to the league tomorrow.

Several minor-league players are uniform for the Dodgers today: RHP Matt Magill (#36), OF Jamie Romak (#95), OF Scott Schebler (#92), INF Clint Robinson (#73), INF Brendan Harris (#35), RHP Pedro Baez (#62), C Tim Federowicz (#26), RHP Sam Demel (#38), RHP Zach Lee (#64), RHP Red Patterson (#78), C Jose Capellan (96), INF Miguel Rojas (#72), INF Corey Seager (#94), INF Darnell Sweeney (#87), OF Joc Pederson (#65), OF Trayvon Robinson (#90) and LHP Tom Windle (#97).

Magill will pitch after starter Dan Haren, who isn’t expected to throw more than an inning or two. Brandon League will also throw an inning in relief, his first against a major-league team after some occasionally rocky minor-league outings in spring training. League also pitched in a Dodgers intrasquad game Wednesday.

Here are the lineups for both teams:

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Clayton Kershaw to the disabled list, Jose Dominguez to Triple-A all but sets Dodgers’ Opening Day roster.

ANAHEIM — Clayton Kershaw played catch with Dodgers head athletic trainer Stan Conte this afternoon. Each of his throws was a little bit farther than the one before, as Kershaw moved backward until he stood about 100 feet from Conte. One throw was interrupted by a magnitude-4.1 earthquake about 14 miles north of here. The 27th throw was his last. Here’s what it looked like:

Kershaw “felt something” in his upper left back on that throw according to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, in the same teres major muscle that showed inflammation in an MRI exam Wednesday. The pain was enough to end Kershaw’s throwing session and earn him a spot on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 23.

“At that point, we knew he couldn’t go any farther,” Mattingly said.

Kershaw, who signed a seven-year, $215 million contract extension in January, allowed one run in his Opening Day start against the Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia. He has never been on the disabled list in his career.

The 26-year-old will be eligible to return from the DL as early as April 7. That’s an off-day for the Dodgers, who host the Detroit Tigers on April 8 and 9. Including the second of two games the Dodgers played in Australia against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Kershaw will only miss seven games.

There’s a possibility that Kershaw might be healthy enough to pitch sometime at home next weekend against the San Francisco Giants — at least, that Kershaw would try to be ready by then. But, as Mattingly said, “we have to save Clayton from Clayton.”

Can he only spend the minimum 15 days on the disabled list? Mattingly wouldn’t say.

Kershaw will take a day off from throwing Sunday, then try to resume throwing Monday when the Dodgers have an off-day workout at Petco Park in San Diego.

Hyun-Jin Ryu is expected to start the Dodgers’ home opener against the San Francisco Giants on Friday. Saturday’s start will go to either Josh Beckett — who is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list then — or Paul Maholm.

Ryu will also start tomorrow’s game in San Diego against the Padres. Zack Greinke starts Tuesday’s game and Dan Haren starts Wednesday.

Jose Dominguez was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday, essentially beating Chris Withrow — another hard-throwing right-hander — for the final spot in the Dodgers’ Opening Day bullpen.

That all but solidifies the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster, barring any injuries today in their final Freeway Series game against the Angels:

Catchers (2)
A.J. Ellis
Drew Butera

Infielders (6)
Adrian Gonzalez
Dee Gordon
Hanley Ramirez
Juan Uribe
Justin Turner
Chone Figgins

Outfielders (5)
Carl Crawford
Andre Ethier
Yasiel Puig
Mike Baxter
Scott Van Slyke

Pitchers (12)
Hyun-Jin Ryu
Zack Greinke
Dan Haren
Paul Maholm
Kenley Jansen
Brian Wilson
Chris Perez
J.P. Howell
Paco Rodriguez
Chris Withrow
Jamey Wright
Brandon League

Disabled List (3)
Clayton Kershaw
Matt Kemp
Josh Beckett

San Diego Padres announce starting assignments for Dodgers’ first series in North America.

San Diego Padres manager Bud Black told reporters in Peoria, Arizona on Saturday that Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross will start in that order against the Dodgers for their season-opening series against the Dodgers at Petco Park.

Cashner will start Opening Day on Sunday, March 30, a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN. Kennedy takes the ball on Tuesday, April 1 and Ross on Wednesday, April 2.

Also Saturday, the Padres learned that starter Josh Johnson will miss at least four weeks with a strained flexor muscle. Johnson wasn’t expected to start in the first series against the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said yesterday that Zack Greinke and Dan Haren will start two of the three Freeway Series games against the Angels, March 27-29. That rules both pitchers out for the March 30 and April 1 starts in San Diego. Expect Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu to get those assignments, with Josh Beckett and Paul Maholm serving as outside possibilities.