Chan Ho Park continued to make a strong push for the final spot in the Dodgers' rotation Monday, pitching three perfect innings in a 7-4 Grapefruit League win over the Baltimore Orioles. That gave Park, invited to camp as a nonroster player, seven scoreless innings in three spring outings in which he has given up only two hits and two walks . . .According to the article, Park is going to go with the Dodgers' yannigans to China for their exhibition series against the Padres. Assuming the Padres are sending scrubs as well, Park could easily end spring training with really gaudy stats.
. . . With Brad Penny, Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda set at the top of the rotation, Park is locked in a tight battle with right-handers Esteban Loaiza (who has given up three runs and six hits in seven innings) and Jason Johnson (six innings, three hits, an unearned run) for the slot Jason Schmidt eventually will take when he returns from shoulder surgery.
My view: spring is where illusions are born and spring stats mean damn little. Still, some pitching-desperate team may be tempted to take a Chan Ho flyer at the end of this month, bringing the Dodgers a small but unexpected windfall.