Last season the Dodgers were fat with starting pitchers, going into camp with eight. As it turned out, even before the first month of the season ended, that was two fewer than they needed.
This year their first four starters -- Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dan Haren -- appear set. Then they have Josh Beckett, who is returning after having a rib removed, and Chad Billingsley, who may be back in early May after recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Which leaves Paul Maholm as the only real veteran rotation insurance.
Maholm was a late addition to the roster this spring, and although the left-hander realizes he could end up in the bullpen, he’s in camp to win a spot in the rotation.
In the first of a pair of split-squad games, Maholm made his second exhibition start Saturday and looked sharp for the most part. He went three innings against the Texas Rangers in Surprise, Ariz., giving up one run and three singles in a game that was called after nine innings with the score tied 5-5. He struck out four and did not walk a batter. Maholm threw two scoreless innings in his first outing.
In the 243 games he has appeared in during his nine-year career, he has been in a relief role once. Beckett, scheduled to start Saturday’s second game at Camelback, has appeared in 315 games in his 13-year career, appearing in relief three times.
Something will have to give.
Meanwhile, right-hander Seth Rosin continued to impress. He gave up one unearned run in three innings. He gave up a hit and a walk, and struck out two. In his first three appearances this spring, he has yet to allow an earned run in seven innings, with 10 strikeouts and five hits. As a Rule 5 draft pick, Rosin has to be on the Dodgers’ 25-man roster all season or be offered back to his previous club, the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Dodgers are now 4-4-3 in the exhibition season.