The competition for the fifth spot in the Dodger rotation began Friday, and left-hander Dennis Reyes struggled in the opening round.
Reyes, battling right-hander Darren Dreifort for the job, was hit hard in the Dodgers’ first exhibition game, a 10-inning, 7-7 tie with the Houston Astros that ended because the bullpens were depleted.
Reyes gave up four earned runs on six hits in three innings in relief of starter Chan Ho Park. He walked one and struck out four, and said he was disappointed with his pitch location.
“I felt good, but I made some mistakes that hurt,” Reyes said. “I got my pitches up, that was the thing. I think I’ll get more opportunities, and I can pitch better.”
Pitching coach Glenn Gregson saw things he didn’t like but stressed that Reyes won’t be judged on his initial outing.
“He was hit pretty well, because that’s what major league hitters do when you miss up in the [strike] zone,” Gregson said.
Dreifort gets his first opportunity today against the Baltimore Orioles at Fort Lauderdale.
Park wasn’t especially sharp against the Astros either, giving up two runs on three hits in three innings. But he isn’t fighting for a job, which makes life easier after a lackluster outing.
“I’m a lot more confident now than when I came to Dodgertown before,” Park said. “The last four years here, I used to worry about what would happen if I gave up a run, or a hit, or a walk. Every pitch, I would worry about. Now, I don’t worry about that.”
Roger Cedeno took the lead in the center-field derby. He started, hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and played well defensively.
“To do that on the first day helps you,” Cedeno said. “Now, I just have to keep working hard and let it happen.”
How prepared is all-star catcher Mike Piazza? He hit a two-out, solo homer to right-center in his first at-bat, then added a single, going two for three. . . . In his first audition as the closer, right-hander Antonio Osuna got two outs in the ninth. “We’re going to put him in those situations throughout the spring to see what he can do,” Manager Bill Russell said.