GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers believe that tenderness in the throwing shoulder of top pitching prospect Rubby De La Rosa is minor and expect him back on the mound as early as Thursday.
Inflammation caused De La Rosa to be scratched from game appearances the past two days, but plans call for him to have a bullpen session Thursday. Apparently he has had occasional issues with the shoulder in the past that have been minor.
The 22-year-old power pitcher was last year's organization pitcher of the year, splitting time between Class A Great Lakes and Double-A Chattanooga. His composite four-year ERA is 2.90 with a .225 opponents' batting average.
This spring, he has made two appearances and allowed two runs in four innings with one home run, three strikeouts and no walks.
Lilly works with Hall of Famer Koufax
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Bullpen sessions can be mundane, but not the one Dodgers starter Ted Lilly had Wednesday.
Lilly, accompanied by pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, had a one-hour private session in the stadium bullpen with Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax. It was Lilly's first session with the iconic left-hander, and now Lilly knows why Koufax is so special.
"It's not just the talent he had," said Lilly. "He still loves to watch baseball, loves the art of pitching. You know he was great. But he's also smart, he's passionate about pitching, he understands and sees things. Sometimes they are little things.
"I enjoy learning about baseball and talking about it with someone like Sandy Koufax, and I enjoy talking about it with Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley and Jon Garland. There are always ways to move forward, even if they are small."
2010 Spring Training - Los Angeles Dodgers
News & Features
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Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
Ethier sits out despite being in lineup
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier was a late scratch from Wednesday's game against Seattle because he misread the lineup card in the clubhouse and was lifting weights when he should have been stretching on the field.
As a result, manager Don Mattingly said, Ethier was scratched and replaced in right field by Gabe Kapler.
"I don't know what happened. He didn't read the card," said Mattingly. "I had talked to him about playing three in a row and it was set up, but in his mind he was off and in the weight room and I didn't want to take the chance of running him out there without stretching.
"It's not a big deal at all. Obviously, it's a misunderstanding. I know he wouldn't do it on purpose."
While Ethier was out of the lineup, James Loney returned after missing four games with a swollen left knee and Jamey Carroll played in his first game since bruising a right index finger Saturday.
Hong-Chih Kuo made his first appearance of the spring, allowing a solo homer to Jack Wilson but otherwise appearing sharp in one inning. Kuo allowed only one home run in 60 innings during the regular season last year."He wanted to go back out there for a second inning, he said he's got another one in there," said pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. "I said I was glad he felt good, but he's not going back out there." The Dodgers have brought Kuo around slowly this spring to preserve his delicate left elbow and it seems to be working, because he hasn't had any tenderness. The program will continue, as Kuo will throw a bullpen session in two days before another appearances two days after that.
Furcal, Ethier provide day's entertainment
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rafael Furcal entertained the Dodgers clubhouse in the morning on Wednesday and Andre Ethier took care of the lunch break.
Forty five minutes before the team's workout began, with players dressing and chatting, a live chicken appeared in Furcal's cubicle, much to the shock of locker neighbor Juan Uribe.
"No animals were harmed," manager Don Mattingly promised, as he revealed some details of the team meeting. "You've got to have fun in this game, as long as you know when to get back to business. Raffy always says, 'If you're scared, get a black cat.' We got a black chicken this year."
Before the lunch break between workouts and the day's game against the Mariners, a mariachi band arrived and serenaded several pitchers as they had their bullpen session.
It was all part of Ethier's long-promised Mexican-themed lunch, catered by Ethier's favorite Phoenix dive, "Ritos Burritos."The entertainment was capped by Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda singing "Grenada" to the players, backed up by the mariachi band.
Lindblom shines in ninth inning
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It could easily be overlooked on a day when Jon Garland was hurt, Andre Ethier went missing and Sandy Koufax was in the house, but a scoreless ninth inning pitched by Josh Lindblom was a milestone for the right-hander.
Two springs ago, he came out of nowhere to nearly make the Opening Day roster after only 34 professional innings, but it's been a roller coaster ever since. He's been bounced between starting and relieving and passed by the likes of Rubby De La Rosa on the prospect depth chart. He had a 6.54 ERA at Triple-A Albuquerque last year.
So the two strikeouts and a walk in the ninth inning against the Mariners in a near-empty stadium was an encouraging return for Lindblom and those rooting for him.
"That's the way I remembered him two years ago," said pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. "It's good to see him throw a solid inning over here."
Lindblom, a closer at Purdue and second-round Draft pick in 2008, said he's determined to get back on track now that management has told him he's exclusively a reliever again.
"I got to the point where I lost who I was as a pitcher," said the 23-year-old. "Instructional league helped me get back my delivery. It was tough going back and forth [between starting and relieving], but what happened I have to take ownership of. Most important, I let myself down. Now I'm settling into a role."
Lindblom said he wasn't surprised he didn't get an invite to Major League camp, as he did at the start last spring and in the middle of camp in 2009.
"The first two years I earned it," he said. "Going off last year, I didn't earn it. I understood."
Dodgertown Classic to be held Sunday
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgertown Classic college baseball event, with USC vs. UCLA as the headliner, will be held this Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
The University of Georgia faces St. Mary's College in the 10 a.m. PT opener, with the crosstown rivalry between the Trojans and Bruins starting at 2:30 p.m.
Stadium gates open at 9 a.m., parking is free and concessions are half price. Tickets can be purchased at www.dodgers.com/classic.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.