Pitchers and catchers reported to Camelback Ranch on Saturday for the first day of spring training and much of the early news centered around the Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitching staff.
Chad Billingsley has been able to throw nine bullpen sessions without any setbacks as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery and the team has apparently reached some form of an agreement with former Atlanta Braves starter Paul Maholm.
While Opening Day is still six weeks away, Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly provided some insight as to who he’s considering sending to the mound for the two games in Australia against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLA reports Mattingly all but confirmed Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw would get the nod to take the ball in the Opening Series.
Don Mattingly stopped short of naming Australia starters. Kershaw, Greinke likely, but Ryu & Haren will be ready too just in case
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) February 8, 2014
While Stephen also reports Dan Haren and Hyun-Jin Ryu will be prepared to pitch, having Kershaw and Greinke start the first two games is a no-brainer. The Dodgers would then have seven days before their next game against the San Diego Padres on March 30, making it likely Kershaw starter would be able to start on Opening Day in San Diego.
Kershaw had a rough finish to the 2013 season, but the unquestioned leader of the pitching staff, who’s fresh off having signed a new contract, has taken the mound for the Dodgers on Opening Day in two of the last three seasons, defeating the San Francisco Giants both times. On any other team, Greinke would lead the staff and the Dodgers have the luxury of having him slot behind their ace.
The Dodgers and Diamondbacks have a heated relationship, which dates back to last season’s brawl and pool celebration and the first two games of the season project to be intense.
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