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Dodgers starting pitching thins by the day

LOS ANGELES -- Ted Lilly pitched five innings Tuesday night and gave up three runs to the Lake Elsinore Storm.

Aaron Harang pitched five innings Tuesday night and gave up three runs to the Detroit Tigers.

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Remember when the Los Angeles Dodgers had so many starting pitchers, they couldn’t find enough places to keep them? In a matter of nine days, that embarrassment of riches is now just barely enough.

Without enough places to stash everybody, the Dodgers saw their pitching depth evaporate, and there wasn't much they could do about it. They traded Harang -- who had no role -- for veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez, who has scarcely played. They shuffled Chris Capuano off to the bullpen, where he got scant work and got rusty. Zack Greinke broke his left collarbone in a brawl.

Capuano got hit around Tuesday night in a 9-2 loss to the San Diego Padres, then exited the game in the third inning with a strained left calf.

Now, it looks like Lilly -- who hemmed and hawed about even showing up for his last minor-league rehab game -- will get his wish. He’ll be a member of the Dodgers' rotation once again, most likely. Capuano is getting an MRI Wednesday and, if he's healthy, the Dodgers will have to decide who gives them a better option moving forward. Luckily for them, off days mean they won't need a fifth starter until April 24.

So the Dodgers, who spent more than $200 million acquiring starting pitchers last winter, will be going with a 37-year old who pitched in eight games last year before blowing out his shoulder and who has struggled since March.

They’re one injury away from another rotation that includes Stephen Fife.

Not exactly an ideal set of circumstances, but there are plenty of teams out there that would gladly trade their pitching staffs for the Dodgers’, so this is no time for self-pity.

"Obviously, as a manager, your job is to worry about everything, but at least we're in a position that we have a guy, Ted, who's working his way back," manager Don Mattingly said. "So, we're kind of fortunate that we had an excess of starters."

Notice the tense: Had.