Today marks the Los Angeles Dodgers fifth consecutive Spring Training game of their condensed 19-game schedule. The team will face the NL West team responsible for Zack Greinke’s broken collarbone last season: the San Diego Padres.
Despite some minor injuries early on, the organization is seeing a lot of good play that should make them hopeful for the remainder of the spring. Although the Dodgers are coming off a 6-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday, Chone Figgins shined defensively in center field and Justin Turner has been more than managing at the plate thus far into spring training.
In just four games so far, it seems as though the organization is already coming closer to deciding who their starting second baseman will be. Although only rumored so far, the talk amongst camp has supposedly been that Dee Gordon will assume the starting role and that Alex Guerrero will start in the minors. Although, the Dodgers still have about three weeks of play remaining before they’re forced to make any real decisions about the regular season lineup, both have shown reasons why they should start.
Despite all the buzz at second base, the main focus today will be on starting pitcher Josh Beckett. The 33-year-old righty will make his first appearance since his TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) surgery. Beckett had complications of numbness and tingling in his throwing hand which was a reason for his poor performance in 2013, going 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA.
Thus far, Beckett has reportedly felt no more tingling in his hand and has also pitched well in all of his bullpen sessions. Today’s start will be a huge indicator of Beckett’s true progress since his surgery. If Beckett’s hard work can translate into production on the mound, the Dodgers will have impressive depth in their pitching rotation. Behind him will be starter Paul Maholm, who was signed as insurance as well as Stephen Fife, Daniel Moskos and Sam Demel.
In the today’s lineup, fans will see Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez out there as they were given the day off yesterday. Carl Crawford is feeling a little better regarding his leg tightness as he was able to get in the game yesterday as the designated hitter. Yasiel Puig is leading off yet again, but will be patrolling center field.
Reserves today will be Dee Gordon, Nick Buss, arguably the Dodgers hottest hitter Clint Robinson, Mike Baxter, Miguel Olivo, Brendan Harris and Miguel Rojas.
Beckett will face Padres starter Robbie Erlin. The left hander started just nine games last season for San Diego while starting 20 games with the team’s Triple-A affiliate. The Padres are 0-3 going into today’s game.
Time Warner Cable subscribers can tune into SportsNet LA at 12:05 pm to watch the game. For fans who aren’t as fortunate to have SportsNet LA at the click of a remote, Dodgers spring training games are being broadcasted on AM570 Radio. The radio broadcasting schedule for the remaining exhibition games can be seen here.
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