PHOENIX -- The Dodgers now face the unpleasant duty of becoming the latest team in baseball to re-plan its rotation after an MRI exam confirmed that right-hander Jon Garland has a strained left oblique and will be sidelined approximately a month.
Veteran Tim Redding and John Ely become the top two candidates in line for rotatoin temp work until Garland's return. Manager Don Mattingly said trainer Stan Conte told him that Garland likely will be sidelined 30-32 days.
As things line up, the Dodgers do not need a fifth starter until April 12. The Cardinals (Adam Wainwright) and Brewers (Zack Greinke) also have been scrambling after significant pitcher injuries this spring.
Garland has not been on the disabled list in a decade, has not missed a start in nine years and has worked 190 or more innings for nine consecutive seasons. It was this durability that led the Dodgers to Garland after they were seriously short of pitching behind Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley last season. Vicente Padilla was their opening day starter in 2010, and journeyman knuckleballer Charlie Haeger even made a start during the season's first week.
Padilla, expected to be out with a sore elbow until sometime in April, lines up as the long man out of the bullpen in 2011.
Realistically now, by the time he heals and re-builds arm strength, Garland, who was 14-12 with a 3.47 ERA in 200 innings pitched for San Diego last summer, probably won't be able to start for Los Angeles until at least late April.
"I've had it," Mattingly said of an oblique strain. The first seven or eight days, you don't want to turn wrong in bed, or cough. There's not a whole lot you do where you're not using that (oblique)."
Ely, a 24-year-old right-hander who went 4-10 with a 5.49 ERA in 18 starts for Los Angeles last season, is having a very good spring. In six scoreless innings, he's 2-0 with seven strikeouts and no walks. Redding, in camp as a non-roster invitee, has thrown eight scoreless innings. An eight-year veteran, Redding, 33, finished last season pitching in Korea after pitching for the Mets in 2009.
"Both of been good down here," Mattingly said of Ely and Redding. "We've seen John last year when he was really good early, and then he struggled toward the end of the year. Down here, he's been back to how he pitched early.
"Tim is a guy who knows how to pitch. He knows what he's doing. You've got a pretty good idea of what you'll get with him."