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04/11/10 1:00 AM EST
Haeger, Sanchez ready to wrap up series
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
Both Marlins right-hander Anibal Sanchez and Dodgers knuckleballer Charlie Haeger will enter Sunday's rubber match at Sun Life Stadium with something to prove. The 26-year-old Sanchez, who came out of Spring Training unscathed for the first time in five years, is out to show he can stay healthy for a full season. Shoulder problems have plagued him throughout his career and since throwing 114 1/3 innings as a rookie, Sanchez has thrown just 167 2/3 innings total in the big leagues. But Sanchez is confident that he's finally healthy and is eager to make his first start of the season after being initially lined up to throw in the third game, at the Mets on Thursday, before that start went to Nate Robertson, the lone lefty in the rotation. "I feel good," Sanchez said. "I don't feel anything bothering me. My body feels good. I feel ready, and I'm ready to go. It's a new season, a new day, a new game. Everything's new." Haeger is out to prove that he can stick in a Major League rotation. The right-hander has seen some time in the big leagues the last four seasons, but his career-high in innings pitched is just 19. Haeger excelled in those 19 innings with the Dodgers last year, with a 3.32 ERA and was named the club's fifth starter after posting a 2.20 ERA in 16 1/3 innings during Spring Training. The knuckleballer will also be throwing to a familiar face on Saturday, as A.J. Ellis will get the start at catcher to give Russell Martin rest in the last game of three-game series. Ellis joined the club in Florida on Saturday after Brad Ausmus went on the disabled list with a pinched nerve in his lower back. "I caught [Haeger] last year in Albuquerque and a couple of his relief appearances this spring," said Ellis, who has had brief callups the past two seasons. "I don't think you ever get used to [the knuckleball]. You try to be as comfortable as possible. I'll use Charlie's mitt. He carries his own mitt. It's a fun challenge. I enjoy it." Dodgers: The Dodgers' lineup for Sunday's game won't pack its usual punch, as left fielder Manny Ramirez is expected to be given a day off and right fielder Andre Ethier will be held out of the lineup for the fourth straight day because of a sprained left ankle he suffered in Pittsburgh. The Dodgers will regularly give Ramirez a rest during day games after night games, while Ethier is expected to be back in the lineup on Tuesday for the Dodgers' home opener. Marlins: First baseman Gaby Sanchez connected for his first home run of the season on Saturday, a three-run home run against Dodgers right-hander Vicente Padilla in the fourth inning. It was also the 26-year-old's third home run of his career after hitting two home runs last year in 21 at-bats. Worth noting: Wes Helms set a Marlins record with his 45th career pinch-hit coming in the form of his two-run double against Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton on Friday. He was tied with Alex Arias (1993-97). In his career, Helms has a total of 78 pinch-hits while carrying a .291 average. ... Former Dodgers All-Star and World Series tri-MVP Pedro Guerrero has been a clubhouse visitor this weekend because he remains close with Dodgers first-base coach Mariano Duncan and has homes in Miami and the Dominican Republic. ... Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal collected his 1,500th hit of his career on Saturday, while Manny Ramirez collected his 2,500th later in the game.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.