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Sunday, March 25, 2012
Lilly may be thrown off schedule

By Tony Jackson

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers may be forced to slightly alter their starting rotation at the beginning of the season because of a minor but ill-timed physical issue with veteran left-hander Ted Lilly, manager Don Mattingly said Sunday morning.

Lilly missed his scheduled bullpen session Saturday because of a stiff neck. Mattingly said that for now, the assumption is that Lilly won't make his next scheduled Cactus League start Tuesday against the San Diego Padres, which would throw off Lilly's schedule leading up to what was expected to be his first regular-season start against the Padres at Petco Park on April 7.

Mattingly said that with an off-day scheduled for April 9 and reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw set to start the home opener on April 10, Lilly could simply be pushed to the April 11 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That would mean Chris Capuano, the fifth starter who wasn't expected to make his first regular-season start until April 11, would be moved up and get the ball for one of the games in that season-opening, four-game series in San Diego.

"I'm not really worried about it too much,'' Mattingly said. "I thought it would be more of a one-day thing and then back on schedule, but in talking to (trainer) Sue (Falsone), we'll have to think about (the rotation). We haven't really discussed that yet. It sounds like he just slept on it funny and it just got tight on him, and he is having trouble turning his head.

"The last thing we want to do at the very beginning is (rush) him back out there. We don't want to keep pushing him to go forward and end up going backward and having this be a longer period of time.''