04/30/10 7:54 PM ET
Dodgers give start to Rule 5 pick Monasterios
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
They'll be leaning on right-hander Carlos Monasterios, who will be making his first big league start after making seven relief appearances this season. The 24-year-old has fared well with a 1.69 ERA over 10 2/3 innings but will be starting for the first time since Spring Training.
The Dodgers clearly have high hopes for Monasterios, who was acquired by club in a trade with the Mets after being selected as a Rule 5 pick from the Phillies last year. But they also know this is just a spot start and he's only scheduled to throw 70 to 75 pitches.
"I just told him, the last couple times you were out there you were free and easy, just go as hard as you can and then we'll come get you depending on pitch count," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "A lot of it's going to depend on how he starts out. If he runs counts up in the first couple innings, we may have to go get him earlier than anticipated."
But Torre is also hoping that the Dodgers' win on Friday will help with Monasterios' confidence because he won't have to worry about ending a losing streak in his first start.
"Winning's a habit, unfortunately so is losing," Torre said. "We've played well at home, we're comfortable. I think it helps the kid tomorrow pitching, too, as opposed to trying to break a losing streak."
Meanwhile, the Pirates will send left-hander Zach Duke to the mound and will be hoping for a better performance from him after allowing a combined 14 runs in nine innings over his past two starts.
His last outing against the Brewers on Monday was especially rough when he allowed eight runs on nine hits in four innings and also walked four batters.
"It was all command," Duke said. "I didn't get the guys out that I needed to get out. That was all a product of falling behind in the count and not locating. It's me not executing the way I need to. That's the whole thing. I didn't execute the way I'm capable of."
But Duke did beat the Dodgers on Opening Day, when he allowed two runs in five innings. He posted a 4.06 ERA last season in 32 starts.
"I think he's pretty aggressive," Dodgers outfielder Reed Johnson said. "He's a guy who throws a lot of strikes. That's what makes him tough, any time you've got a pitching coach who's going to speak well of a pitcher it's going to always be about he gets ahead in the count, he throws strike one."
Pirates: Good news on Ohlendorf
The Pirates received some good news on Friday when right-hander Ross Ohlendorf came out his extending spring training start feeling fine and is expected to rejoin the rotation on May 10. Ohlendorf, who posted a 3.92 ERA in 2009 and had a 3.60 ERA this year before going on the disabled list with back spasms, threw 43 pitches and his fastball reached as high as 94 mph on the radar gun. "It was very encouraging," said director of development Kyle Stark, who was on hand to watch Ohlendorf throw. "I was encouraged by the health, the way the ball came out of his hand and the progress to where he is at this point."
Dodgers: Paul offers leadoff spark
The Dodgers experimented with their lineup on Friday by batting Xavier Paul first in the order for the first time in his career with Rafael Furcal still out with a left hamstring injury. The plan worked as Paul went 1-for-4, stole the first base of his career and scored two runs to help the Dodgers end their five-game losing streak. "With Furcal out of there, you're just trying to find somebody that can give you a little speed," Torre said. "Russell [Martin], with the on-base percentage, we're batting him second. We're just trying to find somebody at the top that maybe will give us a little spark."
Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez and right-hander Jeff Weaver are both expected to be activated once their time on the 15-day disabled list is up, according to Torre. Ramirez, who was placed on the DL on April 23 with a left calf sprain, could play in a few rehab games before he rejoins the club. Weaver, who was placed on the DL with a right lower back strain on April 22, is set to throw about 40 to 45 pitches in three innings of a simulated game Saturday. ... For the third time in the Pirates' past eight games, outfielder Lastings Milledge was out of the lineup on Friday. Though Milledge is hitting .350 with runners in scoring position this season, he has just four hits in his past 24 at-bats. ... The Pirates will have one open rotation spot for one more week while the club waits for Ross Ohlendorf to return on May 10. Manager John Russell did not announce who that spot starter would be, though he did confirm that Brian Burres remains a candidate. Burres tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings on Thursday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.