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Dodgers officially sign Vicente Padilla to a one-year contract

December 9, 2010 |  6:31 pm

And then there were six.

Or what I like to call, "Learning From Mistakes."

Last spring the Dodgers went to camp with only four starting pitchers. They had a list of about 10 who were supposedly in contention for that fifth spot.

Only in the spring, no one truly claimed the job. It was a mishmash of pitchers too old, too young or just too ordinary.

So they picked knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, which had a certain logic, but he became an absolute disaster. As in 0-4 with a 9.78 earned-run average in six starts.

Whatever the team’s shortcomings this spring, however, it won’t be for lack of starting pitchers. General Manager Ned Colletti locked up his rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda and Jon Garland before the winter meetings.

And now they’ve added an insurance starter.

The Dodgers signed Vicente Padilla to a one-year contract Thursday night with a $2-million guarantee and a split tier of incentives, based on both starting and relieving.

Padilla, the Dodgers’ opening-day starter last year, will be their jack-of-all-trades right-hander next season. He’ll begin the season as the long reliever but will be the first to throw in a spot start. And if Jonathan Broxtonfalters, Colletti has indicated he would even consider using him in a closing role.

"Vicente’s flexibility and willingness to be in whatever role we may need him in was very important to us," Colletti said in a team release. "We believe he is capable of filling practically any role on our staff and we are very glad to have him back."

Padilla, 33, went 6-5 with a 4.07 ERA in 16 starts last season. He spent two stints on the disabled list with neck and elbow injuries, but he was impressive when he was sound.

During one seven-game stretch, he went 4-1 with a 1.13 ERA. At Dodger Stadium, he went 4-1 with a 1.61 ERA.

And since Lilly, Hiroki and Garland are all in their 30s, a proven, extra starter only makes sense.

-- Steve Dilbeck