PITTSBURGH -- Vicente Padilla has had a sore forearm, Andre Ethier a sore knee, the team lost its last six exhibition games but, ready or not, it's time for Dodgers baseball.
An Opening Day roster was submitted as mandated Sunday, but it's only interim because Cory Wade (out with shoulder surgery) is on it and Russ Ortiz (in uniform for Sunday's workout at PNC Park and the 12th man on the pitching staff) isn't.
Wade will be placed on the disabled list before Monday's opener against the Pirates and Ortiz's contract will be purchased, manager Joe Torre confirmed. That procedural delay is precautionary in case an injury was suffered during Sunday's workout, which was held in unseasonably warm weather. None was reported.
"It's just a technicality," said Torre.
The club already placed reliever Hong-Chih Kuo on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 26, with a sore elbow.
The 12-man pitching staff -- necessary to protect inexperienced Rule 5 pick Carlos Monasterios -- kept Nick Green off the roster. So Jamey Carroll, with 46 big league starts at shortstop under his belt, will back up Rafael Furcal.
Ethier said a knee that hyperextended during batting practice last week has healed and he will start Monday. Padilla said the forearm soreness that pestered him all spring is better, and he's taking the ball Monday for his first Opening Day start regardless.
Torre also said he will bat Russell Martin second Monday and Matt Kemp fifth, behind Manny Ramirez. Martin was limited to only five exhibition games by a pulled groin muscle and even before the injury was a player to watch coming off two disappointing seasons. Torre's reasoning for moving Martin up in the order is that the catcher is 7-for-15 against Pirates starter Zach Duke. Kemp is 6-for-15.
"Matt -- he's an RBI guy," said Torre. "If something doesn't seem to be working, we'll change it."
There are other players under a cloud of uncertainty, like Ramirez, who faded last year after his drug suspension; like Chad Billingsley, who struggled in the second half and struggled again in Saturday's final tuneup; like George Sherrill, who Torre said still is his eight-inning setup man despite an awful spring; and like Furcal, who appeared to come alive the final week of an otherwise lackluster Spring Training.
As for the 35-year-old Ortiz, he's writing another chapter in his annual comeback story. He missed the entire 2008 season with injuries, but with a 2.50 ERA in 18 spring innings has made a team as a non-roster player for the third consecutive season and is on his fifth club in the past six seasons.
"Part of my excitement is being able to put your mind to a goal and achieve it and part of it is to be able to play for the team I grew up watching at my first stadium," said Ortiz, who was born in Encino and attended Montclair Prep in the San Fernando Valley. "Add to that playing in front of my family.
"I don't want to sound arrogant, but I'm proud of myself. The last three seasons I had to pitch for jobs and I was able to do that. I believed I could and I was able to stay healthy and do it."
The planets also had to align for Ortiz. The Dodgers wanted to keep Monasterios, but felt they needed to protect him with a 12-man pitching staff. And any thoughts the club had of stockpiling Ortiz as insurance at Triple-A were dashed early on when he let the club know he'd rather retire than pitch in Triple-A.
"That was not in my thought process," he said of a Minor League assignment. "I felt I did everything I could this spring to win a job. If I didn't feel I could pitch in the Major Leagues, I wouldn't have done this. I felt like I could. I got myself ready and, in the end, was able to do well enough to make the team."
The submitted roster:
Pitchers (12): Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Charlie Haeger, Clayton Kershaw (L), Hiroki Kuroda, Monasterios, Ramon Ortiz, Padilla, Sherrill (L), Ramon Troncoso, Wade, Jeff Weaver.
Catchers (2): Brad Ausmus, Martin.
Infielders (6): Ronnie Belliard, Casey Blake, Carroll, Blake DeWitt, Furcal, James Loney.