Roberts seeking options for fifth starter

Roberts seeking options for fifth starter

PHOENIX -- The Dodgers have nearly three weeks to get their fifth-starter situation straightened out, and it needs some straightening.

On Friday there were three finalists for the spot opened by Brett Anderson's back surgery -- Brandon Beachy, Mike Bolsinger and Zach Lee.

By game time on Sunday, Beachy was sidelined with a sore arm, Lee had been optioned to the Minors and Bolsinger was scratched from a scheduled start with abdominal stiffness or a mild strained oblique.

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After Minor Leaguer Jeremy Kehrt was pushed into an emergency start that turned into a 12-5 split-squad loss to the Padres, manager Dave Roberts had to be wondering where all of his pitching depth went. At least he got good news from the other split-squad game, as No. 2 starter Scott Kazmir rebounded from a shaky 'B' game outing with four effective innings against Milwaukee in a 3-1 loss.

"At this point, we'll see," Roberts said when asked who his fifth starter is. "I don't know how long [Bolsinger's] oblique is going to last and how serious it is. Obviously, there's Zach Lee, and I don't know where Beachy is right now.

"It just keeps happening, I guess. Bolsinger has a mild oblique strain, whatever that means, and whatever it takes we'll know as days go on. He'll get treatment and see where it goes from there. You win with pitching and defense. Look where we were at the start of camp and where we are now, it's a little frustrating. Every team goes through it in some capacity. It's another obstacle for us to deal with."

Roberts said that the club could cancel Lee's option and bring him back. Beachy had to dial it back because of soreness in his twice-repaired elbow, and now Bolsinger has the kind of injury that can linger.

"When you talk about an oblique, it certainly will be more than two days, I can tell you that," Roberts said. "After that, I don't know, I'm not a doctor. But I've had one, and you've got to be really cautious with those things."

Roberts said that in addition to Lee, Carlos Frias would be in the conversation. The Dodgers have never decided whether Frias is a reliever or starter, his rubber-arm resiliency leading to both possibilities. The Dodgers need a fifth starter only once in the first 17 games, so Frias could serve both roles initially. Frias threw 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

Kazmir wasn't rattled by the sudden panic last week over his velocity, and he stuck with his Spring Training program.

"My rhythm, the pitches, everything felt good today," Kazmir said. "I threw 60-plus pitches, then 25 more in the bullpen. So 85 now, I'm in a good spot. I was happy with my changeup, I could add and subtract from the fastball, and I was able to bury some curves. All in all, it was a good day."

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