No relief Left-hander Mark Hendrickson, who is among the combatants for the vacant fifth starter’s spot, came on in relief of Jason Schmidt to begin the third inning. Thirteen batters later, Hendrickson had given up seven runs on five hits while recording just five outs. In fairness, three of the runs were unearned as a result of the Dodgers’ fourth and fifth errors in their first two Grapefruit games. Still, it was a harrowing spring debut for Hendrickson, a veteran starter who made it clear to Dodgers officials well before arriving in camp that he has little interest in pitching out of the bullpen as he did late last season. “Usually in spring training, you’re going to have two or three outings where you (struggle),” Hendrickson said. “There are going to be times down here when you make good pitches and get hit and times when you make bad pitches and get outs. … But regardless of the results, this is about preparing for April. I just wasn’t as sharp as I wanted to be.” Stone cold Non-roster lefty Matt White made his spring debut, relieving Hendrickson and retiring all four batters he faced. With that, White officially began to focus his attention on making the club at a point when he admittedly has tired of talking about the fact he is literally sitting on a gold mine. White spent a good portion of Thursday doing national interviews after an Associated Press story emerged that the $50,000 piece of land he had bought from an aging relative in Massachusetts was discovered to have what by some accounts is a billion dollars worth of stone. “Things have been blown so far out of proportion,” White said. “These last 72 hours have been really busy. I never signed up for any of this. But I think this will all pass and be old news in a week.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! All of which would seem to suggest that the hernia is history. The question now is whether Bigbie, who has an escape clause in his contract if another club comes calling with a major-league contract, will soon be history, too. “I’m not looking at it like that,” Bibgie said. “Every day I put a Dodgers uniform on, I’m playing for this team. I don’t think about scouts in the stands. But obviously, if I play well, anything can happen. I just want to get my name back out there as a healthy player.” The harsh reality for Bigbie and just about any other Dodgers position player currently sitting on the bubble is that there isn’t much of a bubble to sit on. If the Dodgers go with the now-standard 11 pitchers, there probably will be room for one guy who isn’t already a lock. If they go with 12 – which is unlikely considering they don’t have to use a fifth starter until April 10 – it doesn’t appear there will be room for anyone. “But a lot of things can happen in one month,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said. “We certainly don’t feel like we have too many players.” Late-inning heroics by fringe players are fairly common in spring-training games, a consequence of the fact those players generally are facing bottom-of-the-barrel pitchers. Bigbie’s first homer came off Chris Schroder, his second off Emiliano Fruto. Bigbie took over in left field in the fifth inning of Friday’s game – a 12-7 pasting of the Washington Nationals before 4,101 at Holman Stadium – and promptly went 3 for 3 with a three-run homer, a two-run homer and a leadoff double that barely missed being his third round tripper of the day. It landed just inside the rightfield foul line and just short of the wall. In two Grapefruit games, Bigbie is 4 for 4. Throw in Wednesday’s intrasquad, and he already has three home runs. VERO BEACH, Fla. – Veteran outfielder Larry Bigbie, who is in spring training with the Dodgers on a minor-league contract, said a week ago that he would have to play a handful of Grapefruit League games before he would know whether he had fully recovered from the hernia that sidelined him for almost all of last season. A handful apparently meant two. Three if you count intrasquad games.
talkSPORT guides you through the latest news and views from the backpages… 1 Here’s the top transfer-related stories in Saturday’s newspapers…Liverpool’s owners are prepared to let Raheem Sterling rot in the reserves rather than allow him to leave on the cheap. (Daily Mirror)Sterling has returned for pre-season training at Liverpool, having called in sick for two sessions this week amid growing uncertainty over his future. (The Guardian)World Cup-winning Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, 30, has agreed to join Manchester United on a three-year contract believed to be worth £7.2m a year. (Bild)The German midfielder is set to join on a three-year deal for a fee believed to be around £5.75m. (Manchester Evening News)United may now drop their pursuit of Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin after having a £20m bid rejected by Saints. (Daily Express)The Football Association of Ireland would be happy to let Martin O’Neill depart amid interest from Leicester City. A bookmaker has suspended betting on the 63-year-old replacing Nigel Pearson, who was sacked by the Premier League club last month. (The Guardian)Galatasaray have begun talks with Tottenham over the signing of centre half Vlad Chiriches, but their opening bid of £3.6m has been turned down. (Evening Standard)David Ospina has suggested that he would consider Everton should he leave Arsenal this summer. (Daily Express)Stewart Downing is set to miss West Ham’s friendly at Peterborough on Saturday as Boro’s bid to sign the winger moves closer to completion. (Middlesbrough Evening Gazette)Holland international Georginio Wijnaldum is set to become Steve McClaren’s first signing as Newcastle United manager. The PSV star is on the verge of agreeing a £13million deal. (Daily Mail)Norwich have doubled their offer for Hull wide-boy Robbie Brady – but have been told that £6million is still not enough to prise the Republic of Ireland international out of the Yorkshire club. (Daily Mirror)And here are the latest talkSPORT.com transfer tales…Man United transfer report: Van Gaal to splash out £75m on Bayern Munich and West Ham stars?Barcelona candidate promises Manchester City target Paul PogbaInter Milan confirm interest in Chelsea winger but deal held up by legal actionRoma make move for PSG goalkeeper as Tottenham face missing outAston Villa offer bumper pay package to defender to fight off Arsenal interestSevilla chief would ‘love’ to sign Man City star but rules out dealBastian Schweinsteiger update: Manchester United step up chase for Germany starManchester United working on deal for French wonderkidAtletico Madrid chase Manchester United and Tottenham target Stefan SavicShock Arsenal report! Juventus line up Mesut Ozil as replacement for Paul Pogba or Arturo VidalWatford considering Italy international Alessandro DiamantiArsenal transfer news: Latest on Benzema and Higuain rumours, plus Ozil to JuventusTottenham transfer news: Champions League finalist accepts deal, Townsend to leave and Lloris replacement found?Georginio Wijnaldum to have Newcastle medical as Magpies agree £14m deal with PSV EindhovenManchester United offer Rafael as bait in deal for Nicolas GaitanAston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph set for Man City medical ahead of £8million moveBlow for Tottenham! Monaco winger Yannick Ferreira Carrasco opts for Atletico Madrid