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Friday, April 12, 2013
Who takes Greinke's place?

By Mark Saxon

If you're going to lose one of your best players for a few months, it may as well be a starting pitcher.

Not that replacing injured Cy Young winner Zack Greinke in the Dodgers' rotation is going to a good thing, but it would be much harder to replace a position player of Greinke's caliber. Assuming he is out about three months, which seems fairly standard for a broken collarbone, he would have participated in only about 16 of the Dodgers' games in that span. The team also could take advantage of off-days and reduce that number to as few as 12 or 13.

Plus, the Dodgers have two starting pitchers tucked away for just such an occasion. Ted Lilly just threw 90 pitches in a rehab game for Triple-A Albuquerque on Wednesday and could easily slide into Greinke's next scheduled start Tuesday at home against the Padres.

Or, the Dodgers could move Chris Capuano out of the bullpen to make that start, but that seems less appealing. For one thing, Capuano has made two scoreless relief appearances already, so why create a hole in one area of your team to patch one in another? With Lilly's repaired left shoulder, how often would he even be available to pitch in relief?

Granted, a rotation that includes a 37-year-old soft-tossing left-hander isn't as intimidating as one that features two former Cy Young winners with dominant stuff. But there's no reason the Dodgers can't survive Greinke's absence and be in good shape for a playoff push when he comes back.