Spring Training Game 7 Preview: Brian Wilson To Start For Greinke
Zack Greinke, who’s still bothered by the right calf strain he suffered in his first Spring Training start, won’t pitch on Tuesday when the Los Angeles Dodgers return to Camelback Ranch to play the Seattle Mariners. Starting in Greinke’s place will be reliever Brian Wilson. The 31-year-old right-hander has pitched in 133 games over eight seasons in the majors, but has never started.
Wilson’s only appearance this Spring Training came against the Chicago White Sox on Feb. 28, which the Los Angeles Dodgers won 5-0; he pitched one inning and allowed only one hit. Since joining the Dodgers in July 2013, Wilson has appeared in 24 games and allowed only one run. The Dodgers re-signed Wilson this off-season to a one-year, $10 million contract.
The Dodgers are 2-3-1 through six Spring Training games. Much of the focus has been on the competition at second base, which Dee Gordon has reportedly emerged as the leader in the clubhouse for. The embattled Gordon furthered his case on Monday with his second triple in as many games. Gordon’s Spring Training got off to a slow start at the plate, but he has since rebounded with at least one hit in the last three games. Perhaps more importantly, Gordon has yet to commit an error at second base. Despite Gordon’s strong performances, Chone Figgins will start at second base against his former team.
Left fielder Carl Crawford is back in the lineup and will hit second after missing roughly one week with a quad strain. Crawford’s ability to remain healthy moving forward will be imperative as there still isn’t a timetable for Matt Kemp’s return. If the Dodgers are without both outfielders for an extended period of time, it could press Scott Van Slyke into a starter’s role and force Don Mattingly to shuffle the deck a bit along the bench.
The Mariners are coming off a pair of split-squad wins over the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies on Monday and will send their ace, Felix Hernandez to the mound against the Dodgers. Tuesday will be Hernandez’s first Spring Training start in 2014. Hernandez signed a seven-year, $175 million contract with the Mariners in February 2013 and proceeded to pitch to a pedestrian 12-10 record and posted his third consecutive season with an ERA over 3.00. Of the current Dodgers, only Drew Butera faced Hernandez last season, but Adrian Gonzalez has hit .316 against the right-hander over the last five years and Carl Crawford has hit .300.
Reserves that are expected to play today include Nick Buss, Mike Baxter, Joc Pederson, Tim Federowicz, Dee Gordon, Scott Van Slyke, Brendan Harris and Miguel Rojas. With Wilson starting today’s game, expect the Dodgers to go with a slew of relievers after his first inning of work.
Time Warner Cable subscribers can catch the 12:05 start on SportsNet LA. Considering that Time Warner has yet to come to terms with several other cable carriers, plenty of fans have been unable to watch any of the Spring Training games. Unfortunately, today’s game won’t be carried on AM 570 Radio.
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