Weaver steps into spot start for Dodgers

Weaver steps into spot start

LOS ANGELES -- Jeff Weaver learned around 6 p.m. PT on Tuesday that he'd be the Dodgers starting pitcher at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday as they go for a series sweep of the Mets.

"That's the life of a swingman," said Weaver, who gets the substitute start in place of Eric Stults, who has a sprained left thumb. "They just told me. I'll be ready to go tomorrow."

Starting shouldn't be a big deal to Weaver, who's done it in the Major Leagues 269 times, including twice already this year. He is pleased, however, that manager Joe Torre and the staff have the confidence to call on him for just about any assignment.

"This is the best of both worlds," Weaver said. "Relieving, you know you might get into any game any day. But at the same time, I'm very familiar with starting. This role is fun, it keeps me on my toes."

He said the preparation is generally the same starting or relieving, as far as familiarizing with the Mets lineup.

"There's a little different mentality coming in from the 'pen," he said. "As a starter, you have more time to think. As a reliever, you're not sitting around taking days off and not paying attention. You pay attention each night."

"Really, I feel comfortable with whatever comes my way, as long as they give me a heads up. You know, you have to learn to adapt or things can get ugly. This is the swingman role and I'm comfortable with it."

Weaver elaborated on the difference in the mentality of a starter vs. a reliever.

"A reliever has a little different adrenaline rush, it's a different type of competition," he said. "You're full-bore on everything, it's like it's always an 0-2 count. A starter can work into the rhythm of a game. A reliever has to get up and get ready to go in right away. Actually, that's a nice change for me."

The Dodgers expect to be without second baseman Orlando Hudson, who bruised his left shoulder trying to make a diving catch and is listed as day to day.

"He may miss a day or two," Torre said. "It's not serious, and we're thankful for that."

Pitching matchup
LAD: RHP Jeff Weaver (2-1, 3.38 ERA)
Weaver gets the substitute start for Stults. Weaver, who like Stults opened the season at Triple-A Albuquerque, is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts. He replaced fifth starter James McDonald for those two starts, then moved back to the bullpen when Eric Milton was called up to start last Saturday night. Weaver is 2-1 with a 6.10 ERA lifetime against the Mets.

NYM: RHP Livan Hernandez (3-1, 5.59 ERA)
Given the unfortunate assignment of starting opposite reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, Hernandez left Friday's game staring at a two-run deficit. He allowed five runs in total over five innings, striking out four and walking none. Pitching deep into games has become a challenge for Hernandez, considering manager Jerry Manuels preference to prevent the soft-throwing right-hander from facing batters more than twice in a game. Regardless, Hernandez will attempt to do so against the Dodgers, a team he has beaten only nine times in 28 career starts.

Chad Billingsley is one of only four pitchers in the Major Leagues with at least six wins. The others are Roy Halladay, Zack Greinke and Mark Buehrle. ... Each of Billingsley's nine starts are quality starts. ... Third baseman Casey Blake has eight RBIs in his past five games and 11 in his last 10 games. ... The Dodgers scored in the first inning again (an unearned run) and have scored a Major League-leading 43 first-inning runs. They are 18-5 when they score in the first inning. ... Shortstop Rafael Furcal committed a throwing error on Tuesday, his seventh error of the season.

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Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 2-3, 4.60) vs. Angels (Jered Weaver, 3-2, 2.59), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Saturday: Dodgers (Randy Wolf, 2-1, 2.72) vs. Angels (John Lackey, 1-0, 9.00), 7:10 p.m. PT

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