SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Even after throwing three solid innings, Paul Maholm faces a tough challenge to crack the Los Angeles Dodgers’ rotation.
Maholm allowed one run on three hits in three innings as a Dodgers split squad and the Texas Rangers tied 5-5 Saturday. The game was halted after nine innings.
Maholm won 23 games the past two seasons and signed as a free agent on Feb. 8 with the Dodgers, who have a deep and stacked rotation. He has started 242 of his 243 games in the majors.
“I’m going to prepare and pitch whenever they tell me to,” Maholm said. “If I pitch well, then everything is going to work out. I’m not concerned with roles or anything. You pitch well, they find a spot for you.
“I’m preparing the season like I have in the past. I think this is my 11th spring training, so I’m going to do the same thing. I go out there and get outs. I try to get quick outs.”
Maholm got four groundball outs, including Michael Choice rolling into an inning-ending double play in the second inning.
“My arm felt good and my pitches were working,” Maholm said. “When I got ahead, I was able to get groundballs.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was impressed with Maholm’s outing.
“I thought he was good and sharp,” Mattingly said. “He’s right on schedule. It is going in the right direction for him so far.”
Shin-Soo Choo, signed by the Rangers to a seven-year, $130 million contract, went 0 for 2 with a strikeout, dropping his average to .176 with one extra-base hit in seven games. Choo did drive in a run in the fifth with a sacrifice fly.
“Getting better,” Choo said. “The first couple of games, I was swinging late, but now I’m hitting the ball more in the middle of the park. Every game I play, I’m getting better timing and consistency. In spring training, I try to see the most pitches I can. Sometimes I get to two strikes to get into a two-strike approach. I try not to swing at a ball.
The Dodgers also lost Saturday to the Mariners, 8-5.
The Mariners blasted four home runs in the game, including two by Jesus Montero.
For the Dodgers, top prospect Joc Pederson hit a two-run homer and double. In the game against the Rangers, he struck out three times.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)