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Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Pitching overload -- is a trade imminent?

By Mark Saxon

It certainly appears as if the Dodgers will stoke the hot stove this week. They have five days before they have to have their 25-man roster set and they still have eight veteran starting pitchers in camp.

Last time I counted, that's three too many.

Chris Capuano pitched in a minor league game Monday and scouts from Cleveland, Texas, Seattle and Pittsburgh were there to see him, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.

That doesn't mean the Dodgers are about to make a trade with one of those teams. It does mean, most likely, that those teams have some level of interest in adding Capuano. Teams have been taking long looks at Aaron Harang as well.

Meanwhile, Zack Greinke told reporters he expects to make his season debut on April 5. Chad Billingsley, who has been dealing with a broken fingernail, also thinks he can open the season on time, April 2.

The Dodgers are getting to the point where there will be nowhere to stash these guys. Ted Lilly also is not currently penciled in for a rotation spot, but -- owed $12 million -- he is harder to trade. He's also likely to open the season on the disabled list given the fact he has only pitched 6 2/3 innings in Cactus League games.

The easiest solution is to put Harang and/or Capuano in the bullpen, but that would take a spot from a pitcher with more bullpen experience, one who likely could contribute higher-quality innings. Former Baltimore Orioles closer Kevin Gregg, on a minor-league deal, has allowed just three hits and one run in eight games this spring.

So, one -- maybe both -- of the pitchers figure to be moved by Sunday, but what can the Dodgers expect in return? Manager Don Mattingly has said in recent days he would like a fourth outfielder and the Dodgers aren't likely to keep hot prospect Yasiel Puig for long unless they have a daily role for him. Alex Castellanos hasn't helped his cause in grabbing that spot by batting .227 this spring. So, that's one avenue general manager Ned Colletti likely has explored.

The Dodgers also likely are looking at other teams' rosters in search of a pitching prospect or two who might be close to major league-ready, but retains options and could be stashed in the minor leagues. This is the time of year when scouts -- both the Dodgers' and other teams' -- can put a stamp on their teams' seasons.