LOS ANGELES -- Three nights after rookie John Ely made his first career start for the Dodgers, rookie reliever Carlos Monasterios is scheduled to make his starting debut on Saturday opposite the Pirates' Zach Duke (2-2, 6.11).
Monasterios (1-0, 1.69) has six strikeouts and three walks in 10 2/3 innings over seven appearances this season, although he's allowed the only two runners he's inherited to score and hasn't been relied on in magnified spots.
Manager Joe Torre, said he hoped Monasterios could throw 70 to 75 pitches. If Monasterios struggles, Ramon Ortiz (0-1, 6.39), who was also a candidate to start the game, could work in long relief.
"I just told him, the last couple times you were out there you were free and easy, just go as hard as you can and then we'll come get you depending on pitch count," Torre said. "A lot of it's going to depend on how he starts out. If he runs counts up in the first couple innings, we may have to go get him earlier than anticipated."
Torre said he has not made a decision on who the team's fifth starter will be going forward -- Charlie Haeger, Monasterios or otherwise. The Dodgers can reset their rotation with an off-day Monday after a four-game series with Pittsburgh.
"I'll let you know when the time comes," Torre said.
Monasterios was a full-time starting pitcher in the Minor Leagues until last season, when only eight of his 37 appearances were starts between High-A and Double-A in the Phillies' organization.