Starting pitcher Chris Capuano #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs off the field to cheers as he is relieved in the seventh inning after pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Colorado Rockies the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on July 11, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
Could Tuesday's start against Toronto be Chris Capuano's last as a Dodger? It is not a question on the top of anyone's mind, but it is a possibility.
Capuano's status as a starter in 2013 was never definite, he began the season in the bullpen and was recently moved back there earlier in July. He has made 11 starts for the Dodgers this season, but most have come as a result of filling in for injured pitchers.
When the Dodgers acquired Ricky Nolasco they chose to stick with Stephen Fife in the fifth hole of the rotation, and moved Capuano to the bullpen, but the next day Fife went on the Disabled List with shoulder bursitis.
Fife made a rehab start in Triple-A on Tuesday, giving up four hits and two runs in four innings with six strike outs. It is possible that it could be his only rehab start, and could be back with the Dodgers by the time Capuano's spot in the rotation comes up again.
Another possible reason that Capuano may not start again after Tuesday is if the Dodgers trade for another pitcher. They showed interest in the Cubs' Matt Garza, and even though he ended up with the Rangers they could still be in the market for another starter with the trade deadline still nine days away.
Capuano, 34, is in the last guaranteed year of his contract with Los Angeles, but he has a $6 million mutual option that comes up at the end of 2013. There are not many reasons the Dodgers would commit another $6 million to him, but either way he will make at least $1 million from the buy-out option in his contract.
His 3-6 record has come with some strong performances, but overall is underwhelming, especially since he has lasted less than six innings in six of 11 starts. I don't imagine he will get near the two-year, $10 million deal the Dodgers gave him in 2011, but Capuano should not have too much trouble getting a job next season.
Of course, this may be a pointless exercise of speculation. Everyone knows that the Dodgers have had more than their share of injuries, and even if he did end up in the bullpen the team is just one play away from needing him to fill in a spot in the rotation.
Whether or not this is his last start, Capuano needs to make it count if the Dodgers are to hold their 0.5-game first-place lead in the NL West.