On Thursday, the last of the Dodgers’ 2013 starting pitching club made his first appearance.
It was mostly of the encouraging variety. Lilly gave up a solo homer to his second batter, Howie Kendrick, but otherwise retired his other six batters. He did not walk a hitter and struck out one.
Still, for someone who got off to a terrific start last year (5-1, 3.14 earned-run average) only to be shut down and ultimately have arthroscopic shoulder surgery, it was solid enough.
He might be throwing a tad slower, but really, who can tell?
The stoic Lilly, 37, was the last of the Dodgers’ eight starting pitchers (Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Kershaw are the others) to make his spring debut.
Manager Don Mattingly has at least discussed the possibility that left-hander Lilly would be used in situational relief if he is unable to crack the rotation. Of his 351 career games, however, only 25 have come as a reliever.
Kershaw started against the Angels on Thursday and, despite allowing three runs on six hits, looked pretty impressive. In his three innings, Kershaw struck out seven.
Luis Cruz, fresh out of the hospital for dehydration after missing two games with food poisoning, led the offense with a two-run homer in the first. Utility players Elian Herrera and Alfredo Amezaga and second baseman Mark Ellis each drove in a pair of runs.
Kendrick added a double and drove in three for the Angels.