Dodgers to go to six-man rotation
Torre to keep Stults in the mix after complete-game shutout
LOS ANGELES -- It can't be said that Joe Torre won't push the envelope.
After Eric Stults' complete-game shutout Wednesday night, the Dodgers manager said he would go to a six-man rotation until the All-Star break just to keep Stults in it.
Thursday, Torre fielded a lineup that had All-Star catcher Russell Martin starting at third base (for the fifth time) and third baseman Andy LaRoche making his first Major League start at second base behind 20-year-old starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
Martin, Matt Kemp and James Loney were the only holdovers from the Opening Day lineup. Jeff Kent was getting a day game off after a night game. Delwyn Young started in right field instead of Andre Ethier against left-handed starter John Danks of the White Sox.
"We're looking for a little offense, so we'll take a shot with LaRoche at second," said Torre. "I'm comfortable with Russell at third. LaRoche had a couple innings at second in Detroit. He'll catch the ball. We don't want him getting too fancy. [Coach] Larry Bowa will tell him don't worry about making the double-play too quickly. He'll cover ground and catch the ball. I'm comfortable with that."
As for the six-man rotation, Torre joked that the alternative of not letting Stults start again posed a threat to the manager's security, professionally and otherwise.
"You want to get me fired and killed at the same time?" he asked.
He said a sixth starter would allow an extra day of rest for hard-throwers Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, as well as pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who is expected to return from the disabled list to the rotation next week. Torre said the idea stems from the fact that the Dodgers play 20 consecutive days leading to the All-Star break. When Kuroda returns to the rotation, Chan Ho Park will return to long relief.
Torre said the rotation would be re-evaluated for the resumption of play after the break, depending in part on the uncertain return of Brad Penny from the disabled list.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.