Wilson flings knuckler; Gordon strong at second
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Tuesday's game for the Dodgers started with reliever Brian Wilson throwing a knuckleball for a strike and included two defensive gems by Dee Gordon, continuing to look like a serious candidate at second base.
Wilson shrugged off the question about the knuckleball he threw to Seattle's Brad Miller -- "A strike-one pitch, I don't know what it was" -- but it was a knuckleball and a good one, a fitting way for the hard thrower to begin a game pitched by relievers in place of the injured Zack Greinke.
Wilson said he's not only ready now for the season to start, "I'm ready when I come into camp, that's the way I play. I don't know how to pitch at 75 percent. Right now I'm 100 percent."
Also pitching for the Dodgers were relievers Kenley Jansen, J.P. Howell, Jayme Wright, Chris Perez, Chris Withrow and Red Patterson. Howell was charged with three runs (two earned), but manager Don Mattingly pointed out that he wasn't hit hard. Wright also allowed a run.
Withrow pitched two scoreless innings, but in part because of Gordon. He seems to have moved into Skip Schumaker's role of second base/center field with a chance to become the primary second baseman, where he seems better suited than his natural shortstop position.
The second baseman supposedly would have been Cuban Alex Guerrero, but the fact that he hasn't started there in three of the past four games is a strong indication that he'll open the season in the Minor Leagues and continue the transition from shortstop. The Dodgers figure to open with a second-base platoon involving some combination of Gordon, Justin Turner, Chone Figgins, Brendan Harris and Miguel Rojas.
Figgins started Tuesday at second base, his fifth different position. That versatility could win him a job after sitting out a season, although Mattingly said his most recent at-bats have been "more stagnant" than his earlier ones.