There are no ties in baseball. Except when it’s spring training.
Neither the Dodgers (0-1-1) or White Sox (1-0-1) were content to let the exhibition season end without needing three numbers to describe their record. Either that or Robin Ventura, the home manager, elected not to play after exactly three hours of baseball at Camelback Ranch on Sunday.
Dodgers relieverPeter Moylan surrendered a 2-run home run to White Sox slugger Adam Dunn in his first Cactus League inning. The Dodgers scored when Tim Federowicz doubled and Hanley Ramirez drove him home with a single in the third, and again on Luis Cruz‘s solo home run to left field in the sixth.
Kevin Gregg is trying to make the Dodgers as a non-roster invitee to spring training. (AP)
A year ago, the Dodgers’ bullpen lacked experience. Javy Guerra and Kenley Jansen, the primary ninth and eighth-inning pitchers, had little more than two years’ service time between them. Josh Lindblom and Scott Elbert had only become full-time major league pitchers the year before.
So the Dodgers kept Todd Coffey and Mike MacDougal on their Opening Day roster despite brutal springs and signed Jamey Wright, a 37-year-old non-roster invitee. (Wright worked out, MacDougal didn’t, and Coffey had season-ending elbow surgery in July.)
“We’re still fairly young out there,” manager Don Mattingly said, “so it’s nice to have leadership out there in the ‘pen, guys who have been out there for a season and played on some championship-type teams. I’m not opposed to having experience out there for those guys. Brandon’s fairly young still at the closer role. Obviously the guys setting him up … are younger. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of experience out there.”
Still, it seems like experience alone won’t get Gregg and Moylan onto the Opening Day roster — both will need a strong spring training.
Today begins our daily countdown to pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training on Tuesday with a position-by-position breakdown of the Dodgers’ roster. We begin with the bullpen.
I didn’t include Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano or Ted Lilly on this list, even though one or more of them could wind up pitching out of the ‘pen. Even without them, this is a solid unit on paper with ample depth. The closer situation is fairly clear, but the Dodgers enter the season with more viable options for the ninth inning than they’ve had in recent seasons.
There are a few injury concerns facing this unit, but none are severe. With one exception, the Dodgers’ bullpen should start the season healthy, capable of becoming one of the best in the National League.