Paul Maholm could pitch in relief for Dodgers


PHOENIX — Paul Maholm understands that he could be asked to pitch out of the bullpen if Josh Beckett claims the fifth spot in the Dodgers rotation.

Maholm said he was informed of the various ways he could be used during the talks that led to his one-year, $1.5-million contract.

But Maholm noted that he pitched in relief only once in his previous nine seasons and made clear he intends to win a place in the rotation.


“I’m going to come in and compete,” Maholm said. “If I pitch well, then things will work out.”

Beckett is recovering from an operation to relieve a nerve problem. The Dodgers have another fifth-starter candidate in Chad Billingsley, who isn’t expected to return from reconstructive elbow surgery until May.

Manager Don Mattingly said Maholm not only adds depth to the rotation, he will allow the Dodgers’ top pitching prospects to remain in the minors until they are ready for the majors.

Mattingly pointed to how Matt Magill might have been rushed to the big leagues last year as a 23-year-old because of a shortage of healthy arms. Magill was 0-2 with a 6.51 earned-run average in six starts.