GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Jon Garland gave the Rockies every reason to believe they made a smart decision when they signed him.
The veteran right-hander tossed six impressive innings in his Colorado debut and Michael Cuddyer hit a grand slam that sent the Rockies to a 7-6 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
Garland signed a major league contract with Colorado on Sunday after he was let go by the Seattle Mariners despite a solid spring. He was immediately inserted into the Rockies’ rotation as their fifth starter and he did nothing against Los Angeles to make them question the move.
Garland allowed one run and five hits with one walk and a strikeout. He threw 72 pitches, 48 for strikes.
“I used all of my pitches well, but my sinker was really working,” said Garland, who missed last season following right shoulder surgery. “I used it on two double-play grounders.”
Dodgers starter Aaron Harang, struggling to see through a new pair of glasses, walked his first three batters before Cuddyer launched a drive to right-center.
“It was the reflection of the lights off of these sport glasses,” said Harang, who said he pitched for the first time while wearing prescription lenses. “I was getting dizzy out there. The batters were moving. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.”
Harang tossed his glasses off the field after walking the second Colorado batter, Reid Brignac. But that was a changeup that didn’t work, either. Harang then walked Carlos Gonzalez before Cuddyer connected.
“I’ve never seen anything like that happen before,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Harang regrouped in the dugout before going back out to the mound in the second inning. The blur was gone, and he could see the hitters clearly. Through the next 4 1-3 innings, he allowed one run and three hits. He also had five strikeouts.
What remains to be seen is where Harang will be on opening day.
It appears Harang, Ted Lilly and Chis Capuano will be left out of a starting rotation that eventually will include Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Chad Billingsley. Harang, Lilly and Capuano could wind up in the bullpen, or with another team through a trade.
“I’m not even going to try to figure it out,” Harang said. “It’s all still uncertain.”
Andre Ethier tripled off the left-center wall against Garland in the second inning and scored on Juan Uribe’s grounder. Ethier said he felt some mild tightness in his right hamstring.
“No issue. No issue at all,” he said after his third triple in spring training. “I just wanted to make sure I got into opening day feeling good. We’re ready to go. I think we’ve shown some offense here, especially over the last few days.”
NOTES: Call it March Madness: Mattingly was ready for a question asked in jest about the Dodgers’ decision to cut spring sensation Yasiel Puig, who was optioned to Double-A Chattanooga on Tuesday. “I’m not the high school coach who cut Michael Jordan,” Mattingly said. “I’m going to be the Dean Smith who enhanced his development.” … The 1988 World Series trophy sat on a table in the clubhouse at Camelback Ranch. It was one of many items ready to be packed up for the trip back to Los Angeles, but none as symbolic of what many expect of the 2013 Dodgers. … Kershaw, the opening day starter next Monday against San Francisco at Dodger Stadium, is scheduled to pitch in the Cactus League finale Wednesday against Seattle and Felix Hernandez in Peoria.
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