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Fifth spot in Dodgers' rotation uncertain after Paul Maholm hit hard

SportsBaseballMajor League BaseballPaul MaholmJosh BeckettCincinnati RedsStephen Fife

Quick, somebody find Stephen Fife!

That fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation is currently looking a tad shaky. Chad Billingsley is coming off Tommy John elbow surgery and not expected back until sometime in May, and Josh Beckett is coming off surgery to remove a rib, was hit hard in his last outing and will try to pitch Friday with a sprained thumb.

And now veteran left-hander Paul Maholm suffered through his first rough outing in the Dodgers’ 8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.

Maholm, who had looked strong in his first two exhibition starts, went only 2 2/3 innings against the Reds, giving up six runs on six hits, including a pair of home runs. He walked two and did not strike out a batter.

It’s presumed that if Maholm, who went 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA and 1.41 WHIP with the Braves last season, is unable to beat out Beckett for the final spot in the rotation, he will be in the bullpen.

The Dodgers can get by for a while if neither Maholm nor Beckett distinguishes himself soon. Because of the bizarre start to the Dodgers' season with the trip to Australia and then five days off within their next 12 games, they can go without a fifth starter until the middle of April.

Fife, by the way, was one of the first players reassigned to the minor league camp this spring. Of course, Justin Sellers was reassigned in the spring last season and ended up as the Dodgers’ starting shortstop on opening day.

Right-hander Seth Rosin, bucking long odds to make the team as a Rule 5 draft pick, gave up his first runs of the spring. After striking out 10 in the eight innings of his first three appearances, he was charged with two runs on five hits in two innings Friday with two strikeouts.

Offensively, Hanley Ramirez hit his second home run of the spring and Dee Gordon went two for four, one hit a bunt single.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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