VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Scott Erickson's comeback took another
giant step forward.
Erickson boosted his bid to win the fifth spot in the Dodgers'
starting rotation. His sinker was so effective the Orioles didn't
hit the ball out of the infield. He has allowed one hit in five
innings this spring.
"He was pretty good his first time out, and I'd say you
definitely saw yards of improvement today," Dodgers manager Jim
Tracy said. "All of his stuff was even better than the first time
Erickson, 37, went 79-68 for the Baltimore Orioles from 1995-02,
but he missed the entire 2001 and 2003 seasons with arm trouble. He
returned to the majors last year and went 1-4 with a 6.67 ERA for
the New York Mets and Texas Rangers.
"It's a good sign, but I've always had a lot of confidence in
myself," Erickson said. "I don't think they knew I was as healthy
as I am. I think they figured I missed all last year with injuries,
which wasn't the case."
Even after all his injury problems, Erickson expressed
confidence that he'd make the team as soon as he signed a minor
league contract with the Dodgers in January.
"It's not like I'm a kid out of A ball trying to open some
eyes," Erickson said.
He is competing with Edwin Jackson, Kazuhisa Ishii and Wilson
Alvarez for the No. 5 role. Another spot in the rotation could open
up if Brad Penny doesn't return from a nerve injury to his right
biceps in time for the start of the season. The bullpen also is a
Orioles starter Rodrigo Lopez also pitched three shutout
innings, his first start of spring training.
Walter Young broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with a
two-run single off Joel Hanrahan. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound first
baseman had 33 homers and 98 RBI for the Orioles' Double-A
affiliate in Bowie, Md., last season.
After playing third base in his Dodgers debut, former
Japanese Pacific League star Norihiro Nakamura moved to third base
Sunday. He struck out in his only two at-bats. ... Dodgers pitcher
Ryan Ketchner, who has only 10 percent of his hearing, met about 40
children from the St. Lucie Deaf Education Center before the game.