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Garland set to face old team in LA debut

Garland to face old team in LA debut

LOS ANGELES -- A run-of-the-mill September start just became anything but for Jon Garland.

In a period of less than 24 hours, Garland went from starting for the D-backs against the Dodgers on Thursday to swapping teams and opponents.

The Dodgers acquired Garland on Monday night from Arizona in exchange for a player to be named later (rumored to be infielder Tony Abreu), and now Garland is set to pitch for the Dodgers against his former club.

And while Garland will pitch on his slotted date, the start should be much more complicated than a customary first outing for a new player.

"Going from one dugout to the next on back-to-back nights is pretty weird," Garland said before Tuesday's game. "But to make that first start for your new team against your old team, there's going to be some shock there."

Dodgers manager Joe Torre admitted "there will be emotional stuff there" for Garland when he takes the mound against the D-backs, but he said they didn't think to postpone his Dodgers debut to Friday against the Padres.

What could work in Garland's favor is his intimate knowledge of the Arizona hitters' strengths and weaknesses as well as a chance to take a peak at what the Dodgers' scouting report on him said.

"I'm actually kind of curious to see what kind of scouting report they had on me," Garland said. "A lot of people just go on scouting reports of hitters. I like to take a step back and see what guys have on me." In addition to those perks, there's the fact that Garland's pretty familiar with Dodger Stadium.

Garland's grandfather had season tickets, so Garland grew up going to Dodgers games. He even was in attendance for Kirk Gibson's winning home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

But Garland's history with Dodger Stadium and in-depth knowledge of the D-backs isn't the reason the Dodgers traded for him.

Garland (8-11, 4.29 ERA) won a World Series with the Chicago White Sox in 2005, and as he puts it, "You know what you're going to get out of me."

"You know what I like about him?," Torre said. "The fact that he competes and you have a pitcher that's going to find a way to get you out, whether he's throwing 89 mph or 86 mph or 85 mph.

"He's a tough competitor, and I think that's something that really shows up more so on the pitcher's mound than a lot of other places."

While Garland was with the Dodgers on Tuesday, the other player the Dodgers acquired Monday was not.

Jim Thome, whom the Dodgers acquired from the White Sox for Minor League infielder Justin Fuller, will report to the team Wednesday.

Torre told reporters that Thome will strictly be a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers and won't see time in the field.

Torre also said he assured James Loney on Tuesday that Thome wasn't coming to Los Angeles to take time from him at first base.

Thome, who has hit 23 homers this season, gives the Dodgers a much-needed left-handed power hitter off the bench -- one Torre said would get the attention of an opposing manager.

David Ely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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