Joe Torre told reporters today that the Dodgers would probably start the season with 11 pitchers and then go to 12. That would allow the team to keep Blake DeWitt as a starting second baseman and Nick Green as backup shortstop.
"I'll let you know the fifth starter in L.A.," Torre said. "It's not because I'm unsure, but because we've got work to do with the other guys. We're looking at 11 pitchers now to start. I think we're still determining who the 11 will be. I think 12 will be the number for most of the year. We're going to need a fifth starter four times in April."
As I've written before, I don't agree with the need to keep Green but I'm far from surprised by it, because the Dodgers essentially did the same thing last year in saving a spot for Juan Castro almost the entire season.
I also suspect that the decision to go with 11 pitchers is a response to the probability of both Ronald Belsiario and Hong-Chih Kuo missing Opening Day. The competition for the bullpen isn't quite as tight.
At this point, I would bet heavily on these 10 pitchers being on the Opening Day roster: Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Hiroki Kuroda, Vicente Padilla, Charlie Haeger, Jonathan Broxton, George Sherrill, Ramon Troncoso, Carlos Monasterios and Ramon Ortiz. The remaining competition, I believe, is for the 11th spot.
* * *
Hiroki Kuroda had a breezy seven innings in a minor-league game today, allowing one run (a solo homer) on two hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in 91 pitches. Russell Martin, looking more and more like the Opening Day catcher, caught all seven innings.
Josh Lindblom won the 2010 Jim and Dearie Mulvey Award for being the top rookie at Spring Training.
It's a Dodger Divorce day, with Josh Fisher providing numerous updates on today's spousal support hearing.