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Dodgers' rotation dilemma is of their own making

April 25, 2010 |  3:18 pm
Pedro Martinez, anyone? Jarrod Washburn? John Smotlz? Mark Loretta?

As Ned Colletti likes to say, you can never have enough starting pitching. Anyway, he used to like to say that.

These Dodgers clearly lack starting pitching, and now it has them in a fix of their own creation.

The rotation was already highly questionable heading into the season, the Dodgers counting on: Clayton Kershaw to continue to develop, Chad Billingsley to return to form, Hiroki Kuroda to shake of his neck/head injury, Vicente Padilla to continue to prove Texas wrong, and knuckleballer Charlie Haeger to at least be decent.

As iffy as that all was, the Dodgers knew they had precious little depth behind the starting five. As soon as someone went down, which was inevitable over the course of a season, they would be in trouble.

They’re in trouble.

Padilla went on the disabled list with Sunday with a sore elbow.

And replacing him in the rotation Tuesday is … who exactly? No one to remotely feel confident in.

Jeff Weaver was the emergency rotation fill-in last season, but he’s already on the DL with a sore back. Besides, he’s been used more as a situational reliever this season and couldn’t be expected to give the Dodgers starters’ innings.

The only others on the roster theoretically capable are Ramon Ortiz and Carlos Monasterios. Ortiz  largely has been unimpressive (6.94 ERA). Monasterios, who has barely pitched above Single-A until this season, is understandably being handed with kid gloves.

Which leaves the Dodgers no choice but to bring up someone from the system. And there ain’t nobody there whose performance is screaming -- or whispering -- bring me up.

None of the Albuquerque Isotopes’ starters have been impressive. Josh Lindblom has shown promise the past two springs, but is 1-1 with a 5.57 ERA. John Ely is numerically best at 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA but is pitching above Double-A for the first time. Journeyman Josh Towers is 1-2 and 4.24, James McDonald is 0-0 with 4.97 ERA and a broken nail, and Scott Elbert is 0-1 with an 8.36 ERA.

Ugh. Towers, 33, will probably get the call, mostly because they have to call on someone. In eight major-league seasons with four different clubs, he’s an indifferent 45-55 with a 4.95 ERA.

Just gets you all goosebumpy, doesn’t it?

This hardly figures to be the last time the Dodgers are in this predicament. There’s just pathetic depth. They could sign Martinez. That wouldn’t help them in the short term -- he would still have to have a camp -- but would at least give them someone down the line.

None of this can come as a shock to the organization. Whether it was because of the pending divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt or not, the Dodgers had a pitching need in the offseason and failed miserably to address it.

It’s already cost them, but the payment in performance is only beginning.

-- Steve Dilbeck

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