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03/01/12 7:05 PM ET

Lefty Davis takes part in Dodgers tryout

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers held an open tryout Thursday at which former Major Leaguer Doug Davis showed up. The club is expected to announce one or two signings Friday.

The 36-year-old Davis, a left-hander who strung together four consecutive seasons of double-digit wins from 2004-07, went 1-7 with a 6.50 ERA last year for the Cubs. He has four seasons with at least 200 innings pitched, but his career hasn't been the same since he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2008 and underwent surgery.

"Seriously?" manager Don Mattingly asked when told that Davis was among the hopefuls.

Another athlete trying out was Minnesota Vikings defensive back Jarrad Page, which came as a shock to the Vikings. Page played college baseball at UCLA and was drafted three times by MLB teams as a center fielder without ever signing.

Dodgers hope for fast start from Lilly

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers made a simple request of Ted Lilly this year.

"We asked Teddy to get off to a better start," said manager Don Mattingly.

After signing a three-year, $33 million contract extension following the 2010 season, Lilly fell behind quickly last Spring Training after a bad bout of the flu.

He lost his first two decisions of the season and was 5-9 with a four-game losing streak through July 5. Despite another three-game losing streak in August, Lilly salvaged his season with a late surge that reflected his team's winning five of his last six decisions and lowering his ERA from a second-half high of 5.08 to a season-ending 3.97.

"This year, he had a healthy winter," said Mattingly. "We hoped he'd come in better and get off to a better start. In the second half he was really good. The previous year he was coming off [shoulder] surgery and last year he got sick and missed some bullpens. That put him behind the eight-ball.

"It's kind of funny how you have 40-something days and it seems like plenty of time, but you miss a bullpen here or there and there aren't many opportunities [to catch up]."

Mattingly supports new playoff format

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Count Dodgers manager Don Mattingly among the big supporters of Major League Baseball's expanded playoff format.

"If it goes the way I've heard, I like that," he said. "It gives the advantage to the team that wins the division; that's the biggest key, because you may have to use your best pitcher to get in.

"It's fair. It gives the advantage to the team with the best record and the team that wins the division."

Mattingly also hopes for the elimination of the best-of-five playoff series.

"There's a better chance of the best team winning a best-of-seven," he said. "Best-of-five is such a momentum series."

Kershaw to start intrasquad game on Monday

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw will pitch two innings in a modified intrasquad game Monday, manager Don Mattingly said Thursday.

Kershaw had his initial bullpen session pushed back two days because of mild back tightness, but has been unrestricted since. His first exhibition game appearance is scheduled for the fifth game of the spring, on March 9.

The left-hander did throw to hitters Wednesday, and Mattingly said Kershaw came out of that session with no issues. Mattingly said Chris Capuano also might pitch in the intrasquad game.

Mattingly said Aaron Harang, slotted in as the No. 4 starter, also came out of Wednesday's live-hitter session with no further problems from a right foot bruise caused by new orthotics. Harang, who missed a month last season for San Diego because of a foot stress reaction, has replaced his new shoes and orthotics with more comfortable old ones from last year.

Dodgers contract with publicity firm

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers have contracted with the Reseda, Calif.-based sports publicity firm Brener Zwikel Associates to assist in public relations during Spring Training and the first month of the season.

BZA principals Steve Brener and Toby Zwikel previously served as Dodgers publicity directors before forming their company in 1990.

Earlier this year, vice president of communications Josh Rawitch left the Dodgers for a similar job with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where Derrick Hall, another former Dodgers publicity director, is CEO.

Joe Jareck, Rawitch's assistant, is currently the Dodgers' acting director of publicity.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.