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Joe Torre's pitching plans starting to take shape

March 26, 2010 | 11:33 am
Telltale signs of what Joe Torre is thinking about his pitching staff can be gleaned from his plans today.

--Eric Stults is scheduled to pitch an inning in the same Double-A game Russell Martin is going to play.

Stults, reportedly being shopped by the Dodgers, no longer appears a serious candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation. He’s out of options, so either he’s moved or he claims an unlikely spot in the bullpen. A career starter, he hasn’t pitched in relief since 2007.

--It now appears Ramon Ortiz is being groomed for the bullpen.

He pitched one inning of relief Thursday and struck out two. He now has a 1.29 ERA in five appearances, striking out 19 in 14 innings.

"He's a very aggressive and focused competitor," Torre said Friday. "His stuff is high quality. He's gotten our attention.’’

--Despite a so-so spring, knuckleballer Charlie Haeger remains a serious candidate for the fifth spot. He is scheduled to start Saturday’s game against the Mariners. Haeger is also out of options and Torre continues to sing his praise.

Still hanging in there, Russ Ortiz will follow Haeger.

--Reliever Hong-Chih Kuo and his tender elbow remain in the Dodgers’ immediate plans.

Kuo was shut down when the elbow became sore yet again, but an MRI showed no new damage. He’s scheduled to throw on the side today.

"If he comes out OK after throwing today, he's going to have to throw off the mound soon,’’ Torre said. "And if that's the case, he won't have missed much. This isn't really unusual for him."

--Torre said the team’s focus for a fifth starter is on the players in camp.

"We haven't been talking about anyone outside the organization for the fifth spot," he said. "We're looking at our guys here."

--Another day, and still no Ronald Belisario sighting.

"It’s a missed opportunity, but I can't concern myself with things I can't control," Torre said.

-- Steve Dilbeck
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