Paul Maholm willing to pitch out of the bullpen if necessary

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The Dodgers made a depth signing when they agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal Saturday evening. With Dan Haren suffering from back and shoulder issues over the past two seasons, and with Josh Beckett working his way back from shoulder surgery last July, the Dodgers needed a fallback option in the event either or both of Haren and Beckett could not participate. Not to be forgotten, Chad Billingsley won’t be ready to come off of the disabled list until mid-season by most estimates.

Per Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times, Maholm understands he may be asked to pitch in relief. However, the lefty intends to earn the #5 spot in the Dodgers’ starting rotation.

“I’m going to come in and compete,” Maholm said. “If I pitch well, then things will work out.”

The Dodgers, perhaps more than any other team, understand the value of pitching depth. They entered the 2013 season with a surfeit of starting pitching and were rumored to be shopping at least two starters — Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly, namely — towards the end of spring training. But Billingsley could only make two starts; Lilly made five starts and Beckett made eight. They traded for Ricky Nolasco in early July. He was one of 11 pitchers to make at least one start for the Dodgers.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.