Maholm all set for 2010 debut

Maholm all set for 2010 debut

PITTSBURGH -- Left-hander Paul Maholm is fully recovered from a stomach illness and ready to make his regular-season debut against the Dodgers on Thursday, provided the weather cooperates. Forecasts are calling for it to rain in Pittsburgh throughout the day.

Maholm made his final start of the spring on Saturday, but he did so sick and without much energy. Still, the lefty was able to meet his target of 50 pitches while allowing the Phillies to score only twice off him in three innings. Overall, Maholm allowed 11 earned runs on 24 hits and six walks in 23 Spring Training innings. He struck out 18.

"I would like to have had little better success," Maholm said when asked if he accomplished everything he had set out to this spring. "You understand it's spring, but you'd also like to have success while you're there to kind of carry over. But I felt good. I'm looking forward to getting my start in and seeing where I'm at."

The fact that Maholm had to face the Red Sox or Yankees in five of those seven starts might not have been particularly beneficial for his numbers. However, the lefty also thinks the challenge could be a long-term benefit. It means he has already faced some of baseball's more formidable lineups, which could work to Maholm's advantage as he takes on a Dodgers lineup that is almost identical to the one that led Los Angeles to a National League-best .270 batting average in 2009.

"I think it gets your mindset ready for the regular season," Maholm said of drawing the American League East's best five straight times. "Even in spring, those guys throw out lineups where you don't have an easy out. You get to face their starters, and when I made mistakes, I paid for them. That's what happens in the regular season, so I definitely understand how to go through starts, how to handle lineups and how to handle those guys."