On the day camp opened in Arizona last month, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti was asked about the team's apparent abundance of starting pitchers. "We may be sitting here at some point in time and I'll be looking at you guys saying, 'Oh yeah – we had too many starters, huh? Well, what are we going to do today?'" Colletti said at the time. He probably wasn't referring to March 19. With less than two weeks to go before opening day now, minor injuries – presumably – and a persistent flu bug that has affected several players in camp have whittled away at the Dodgers' starting pitching depth. Josh Beckett was scratched from his scheduled start against the Diamondbacks on Monday because of that illness, though he did throw in a simulated-game situation. And Chad Billingsley will likely be scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday against the A's after bruising the index finger on his pitching hand during a bunting drill. Meanwhile, Zack Greinke is expected to test his troublesome elbow by throwing 45 pitches Wednesday, most likely in the controlled environment throwing to minor-league hitters. Greinke threw a bullpen session Sunday, his first since receiving a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection a week ago for inflammation in his elbow. The plan is to have Greinke pitch Wednesday then again Monday and March 30 (possibly against minor-leaguers each time). If there are no further problems with his elbow, that sets Greinke up to make his Dodgers' season debut April 5 against the Pirates at Dodger Stadium. By having Greinke throw against minor-leaguers in those final two spring outings, the Dodgers would have the option of putting him on the DL to start the season and back-dating the move, allowing him to be activated in time for his first start. "It's fluid," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of the team's pitching plans – then repeated himself, emphasizing the first syllable. "Flu-id." The flu is just the biggest hurdle left-hander Ted Lilly has had to deal with this spring. Coming back from shoulder surgery last fall, Lilly has fallen behind the other starting pitchers because of illness and bad weather. Mattingly said it's unlikely Lilly will be able to build up to 90 pitches before opening day, effectively taking Lilly out of the running for a spot in the rotation. He was a longshot in that crowded field to begin with, but now he could start the season on the DL (which would allow the Dodgers some flexibility in preserving their depth in starters a little longer).
Illness, injuries tax Dodgers' starting pitching
Orange County Register | Mar 19