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McDonald chipping in with multiple roles

McDonald chipping in with multiple roles

LOS ANGELES -- Manager Joe Torre said that Sunday was a "bullpen day" for the Dodgers because starter James McDonald pitched an inning in relief just three days prior.

But Torre also said McDonald will remain in the rotation because Opening Day starter Hiroki Kuroda is still on the disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle.

"He's going to be one of the starters at this point in time," Torre said. "But I just liked the security he gave us in the bullpen during Spring Training. But he can do either one."

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Torre said he'll be happy if McDonald can go five innings before handing off to the bullpen, with Ramon Troncoso available for multiple innings. In a pinch, Eric Stults could go as well, as his next start was pushed back to Friday.

"I'd like to see five innings," Torre said. "I hope we can get that, but it depends on how hard he works. It's not required. Today is a bullpen day."

McDonald enters Sunday's game against the Rockies with a 13.50 ERA after struggling in his first Major League start on April 10 against the D-backs. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings that day, allowing five runs on two hits and three walks.

Torre, though, still likes what he sees from the young McDonald, who tossed 11 1/3 scoreless innings last season, including 5 1/3 against the Phillies in the National League Championship Series.

"I just like his makeup, of course his stuff is certainly quality," Torre said. "He has the ability to throw strikes. The curveball and changeup are important for him."

Torre also announced that Randy Wolf will start on Wednesday, Chad Billingsley will start Thursday and Stults will start Friday.

The Dodgers made the decision because they have Monday off and they wanted to keep Wolf and Billingsley on their normal rest.

"Later in the year, we'd probably do that, but at this point in time, they're pitching well," Torre said. "They want to be on their day and they're feeling fine."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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