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03/13/12 8:41 PM ET

Nieve making case for spot in bullpen

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A real darkhorse in the battle for the last spot in the Dodgers' bullpen is Fernando Nieve, who pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings Tuesday.

The right-hander, 29, is a non-roster invitee who has Major League experience with Houston and the Mets, most recently in 2010. He spent most of last year pitching in Korea for the Doosan Bears, and was limited to five Minor League starts in 2007 because of Tommy John surgery.

Jamey Wright came into camp as the favorite for the long relief role because of his experience, but the Dodgers have 11 non-roster pitchers in camp, nine with Major League experience.

"Nieve is a little more of a power guy out of the 'pen. He reminds me of Ramon Ortiz," said manager Don Mattingly. "His stuff is good and he's durable. That's what we need in that role."

Nieve has allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings, with three strikeouts and no walks.

Capuano works in 'pen to end day on right note

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When a pitcher reaches his pitch limit and is removed from a Spring Training game in mid-inning, he doesn't usually head to the bullpen to throw more pitches.

But Dodgers starter Chris Capuano did after exiting with two outs in the third, as the bottom of a makeshift Rockies batting order started a two-out, three-run rally in the second inning.

"I felt I had a little mental letdown after getting two outs on three pitches and didn't attack the lefty [Charlie Blackmon]," said Capuano, who then hit Tyler Colvin with a pitch, followed by Eric Young's RBI single and Jonathan Herrera's two-run single.

"I lost focus and wanted to go down to the bullpen and recreate the situation, so I had a hitter stand in and did it the right way. For me, it's as much mental as physical. I need to have an aggressive mindset. I should have attacked the third hitter. I wanted to reinforce the right way to handle the situation and leave the field having done it right."

Capuano said he felt stronger and his arm felt better than in his earlier outings. One of the runs he allowed was unearned because of an Andre Ethier throwing error. Two of the Dodgers' four errors were committed when Capuano was on the mound.

Mattingly confident in Hairston as backup

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Utility man Jerry Hairston committed two throwing errors at shortstop in relief of Dee Gordon Tuesday, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is satisfied Hairston can handle backup duties at the position.

"Obviously we think Jerry can do it and we're not making a decision on one day," said Mattingly, who thought one of the batters was out anyway. "If we're in a situation where Dee misses extended time at shortstop, it's not going to be Jerry. But we're talking about a day here and there. I'm not giving Dee that many days off."

The position was a tough place to play Tuesday, as Gordon booted a first-inning grounder.

Hairston was signed because he is one of the most versatile all-around players in the game. Defensively, he's played every position in the Major Leagues besides pitcher and catcher. He said he feels most comfortable at second base, where he's played the most games. Shortstop ranks third on his list of games played, behind second base and center field.

"I'm comfortable everywhere," Hairston said. "I don't know a lot of players that play shortstop and center field. I play pretty well defensively and I'm proud of that. I'm a super utility guy, not a bench guy. I play -- here, there, everywhere. My defense helps me get at-bats."

Mattingly said if Gordon were out for an extended time, he would be comfortable with Justin Sellers at shortstop.

"His glove is legit," Mattingly said. "He gives you what you want out of a utility guy."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.