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2011 Spring Training: What To Watch In Dodgers Camp This Week

The Los Angeles Dodgers began their spring training schedule over the weekend, making this the first full week of Cactus League action for the boys in blue. The week ahead for the Dodgers brings us three televised games. Here is a look ahead at what to watch this week at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona.

Schedule (all times PST)

  • Today: vs. White Sox, 12:05 p.m. (Prime Ticket): Clayton Kershaw makes his first start of the spring
  • Tuesday at Cleveland, 12:05 p.m.: Chad Billingsley gets the start
  • Wednesday vs. Kansas City, 12:05 p.m. (Prime Ticket, plus MLB Network on delay): Ted Lilly makes his spring debut
  • Thursday at Cincinnati, 6:05 p.m.: The Dodgers play their first night game of the spring, as Hiroki Kuroda makes his second start
  • Friday vs. San Francisco, 6:05 p.m.: Jon Garland makes his spring debut
  • Saturday vs. Cincinnati, 12:05 p.m.
  • Sunday at Cubs, 12:05 p.m. (WGN)

It is still early in camp, so there are still several non-roster invitees that will get their share of playing time. For the most part, starting position players are only playing four to five innings anyway to start the spring, so there is plenty of playing time to go around for the 30 position players in major league camp, plus the occasional minor leaguer. In fact, Don Mattingly has laid out a plan in which Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, James Loney, and Marcus Thames will play two games followed by a day off, while Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, and Juan Uribe will play every other day in the early part of spring, per Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times. That leads to days like today, when all seven of those regulars are off on the same day, giving us this lineup today against the White Sox:

Tony Gwynn RF
Aaron Miles 2B
Dioner Navarro C
Xavier Paul DH
Trayvon Robinson CF
Gabe Kapler LF
Russ Mitchell 1B
Juan Castro 3B
Justin Sellers SS

Position Battles

The Dodgers essentially have one bench spot open, likely to go to a middle infielder. Three of the four candidates for that role -- Miles, Castro, and Sellers -- are in today's lineup. Ivan DeJesus, Jr. is also in the mix as well, though it wouldn't surprise me to see one of the veterans, Miles or Castro, claim the role.

In addition, Xavier Paul is out of options and fighting for an outfield spot, although he will likely have to beat out Jay Gibbons for the roster spot. Gibbons is battling the flu, having missed all weekend, and will likely not play until Wednesday, giving Paul the chance to get a leg up in the competition.

Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers' opening day starter, will make his first appearance of the spring today, and is scheduled to throw about 45 pitches today. Also scheduled to pitch for the Dodgers today are Jonathan Broxton, Matt Guerrier, Ron Mahay, and Travis Schlichting.

For more news and information on the Dodgers, be sure to read True Blue LA.