The Los Angeles Dodgers once-set starting rotation has been thrown off course during Spring Training, with Scott Kazmir struggling, Brett Anderson out three to fifth months, and a May return for Hyun-Jin Ryu appearing unlikely.
Kazmir threw a B game on Monday rather than making his scheduled Cactus League start and is expected back on the mound in the coming days. His velocity and command were issues through his first two outings, though Dodgers manager Dave Roberts downplayed any concern.
With the uncertainty surrounding Ryu’s return from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, the Dodgers are essentially holding an open competition for the fifth spot in their rotation.
Brandon Beachy, Mike Bolsinger, Zach Lee and Julio Urias make up the group of those believed to be vying for the job. Beachy, Bolsinger and Lee all have a leg up on Urias, whom the Dodgers are cautious not to rush his progression.
Urias was part of a group of seven players who were sent to Minor League camp after Thursday’s loss to the Kansas City Royals.
Lee made his third start of the spring on Wednesday, allowing one run over three-plus innings of work. He was removed after allowing a leadoff double to Gerrardo Parra and RBI single to Nolan Arenado in the fourth inning.
“Obviously, it builds some confidence in me,” Lee said of receiving regular starts this spring. “I’m happy to keep going and getting opportunities. I just kind of relish each one they give me.”
The right-hander was unhappy with his curveball during Wednesday’s outing, which he attempted to correct as the game went along and will continue to do so in camp. “It’s definitely something that needs to continued to be worked on as we progress through spring,” Lee said.
Next for Lee, assuming he remains in the rotation, is building up to an outing where he reaches 100 pitches in preparation for the regular season, all the while stating his case to be selected as the Dodgers’ fifth starter.
“[I want to prove] that I’m capable of getting big league hitters out, and capitalizing on an opportunity if it comes,” Lee said.