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Window closing for Maholm

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitcher Paul Maholm's availability for the Opening Day roster could ride on his anticipated bullpen session on Saturday.

Maholm, who has been slowed by elbow tenderness, is the only Dodgers starting pitcher who has yet to throw live batting practice. Clayton Kershaw threw to hitters Friday for the second time this spring.

Because of the truncated exhibition schedule this year, injured players have less time to recover from minor Spring Training injuries and still be on the March 16 flight to Australia for Los Angeles' Opening Series against Arizona.

Maholm was signed as a fifth-starter option in the event Josh Beckett, coming off surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, is not ready. Beckett actually is ahead of Maholm, having faced hitters, although it's possible neither will be needed for the two games in Australia.

Brandon League seems to be clear from his mild lat strain, as he threw a second bullpen session on Friday. And Zach Lee, who also had a lat strain, came out of his first bullpen session with no setback, according to manager Don Mattingly.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
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