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Chris Capuano looks at bullpen role for Dodgers in playoffs

It wasn’t his favorite idea back in spring with the Dodgers boasting seven starting pitchers for five spots. Somebody would likely have to go to the bullpen, an idea Chris Capuano found personally unappealing.

But as S.E. Hinton told us, that was then, this is now. And right now, reality calls and Capuano can see it clearly.

So as he fully recovers from a groin strain, he understands that if he is going to be on the postseason roster, it will have to be as a reliever.

“If we’re lucky enough to get into the postseason, and it looks like we will, we’ll only need three or four starting pitchers,” Capuano said. “My interest will be working out of the bullpen. Hopefully I can get two or three outings in preparation.”

Capuano, 35, said he threw on flat ground Wednesday and the groin was fine. He is scheduled to fully test the groin Friday when he throws off the mound.

Manager Don Mattingly, who loathes discussing the postseason until the Dodgers clinch, said it’s yet to be decided exactly where Capuano will pitch when he returns.

“But we want to see what he looks like in the bullpen,” Mattingly said. “We’ve talked to him about that a little bit. But there’s also a possibility of him starting for us again as we’re moving forward.

“Cap’s pitched out of the ’pen before and obviously you don’t use five [postseason] starters, if we can get there. We do have to see if there’s going to be value there for that.”

Capuano has come out of the bullpen 25 times in his nine-year career. Most recently he appeared in 15 games as reliever in 2010, a year he was still coming back from Tommy John surgery.

The Dodgers have carried two left-handed relievers – Paco Rodriguez and J.P. Howell – all season, though Mattingly has said he is not opposed to having three left-handers in his bullpen.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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