Lindblom entrusted with eighth-inning role

Lindblom entrusted with eighth-inning role

Lindblom entrusted with eighth-inning role
PHOENIX -- It wasn't accompanied with the fanfare of Kenley Jansen's promotion to closer, but Josh Lindblom's ascension to the Dodgers' eighth-inning setup role could be considered a more impressive feat.

Lindblom made the Opening Day roster because Ted Lilly was injured. He pitched so well in several roles that the Dodgers not only kept him when Lilly returned, but he's moved up the totem pole to the eighth inning. Former closer Javy Guerra and Ronald Belisario have been alternating in the seventh inning.

"He's getting the ball in the eighth if he's fresh," manager Don Mattingly said of Lindblom. "I don't worry about lefty-righty anymore. Last year, he struggled against lefties. But he's using the changeup more and using the other side of the plate and having success with lefties. That process started last year."

Lindblom has had almost identical success against batters on either side of the plate this year -- .212 vs. lefties, .200 vs. righties -- compared to a year ago, when lefties wore him out at .370 compared to .153 for righties.

"Early on, my approach was to always be ready, it could be any man any time the phone rings," said Lindblom, who is 1-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 19 games. "When the season began, I was long and short to get out of jams. Now it's the eighth and it's nice to know when you're going to pitch, but the mental process is really the same."

That said, Lindblom knows that the setup role is a sign he's done well, but he'll keep that in perspective.

"Not any one role should be magnified," he said. "The last couple of games there were key outs in the fifth and sixth innings. That's what's so cool about our bullpen. Guys are stepping up and getting big outs."