When Ramon Hernandez arrived here in the wee hours Sunday morning, it was the start of strange times for the Dodgers.

They had three catchers.

It won't last long. The Dodgers should be back to two backstops - A.J. Ellis the starter, Hernandez the backup - by the time pitcher Chad Billingsley is activated from the disabled list Wednesday for his start in San Diego.

Tim Federowicz is the third wheel, and the 25-year-old played like a man on a mission in his first game of the season Sunday.

"Absolutely," he said. "I wanted to show that it's not going to break my spirits."

Federowicz walked once in a deceiving 0-for-3 performance against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Two of the outs were line drives hit directly at Pirates fielders and the third required a brilliant diving stop and throw from shortstop John MacDonald.

When the Dodgers acquired the 36-year-old Hernandez on Saturday from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for pitcher Aaron Harang, Federowicz was understanding, if not exactly thrilled. He was named to his first 25-man roster to start the season.

"I know I feel ready," Federowicz said. "I know (the Dodgers) kind of feel the same, but at this point in time it's better to go with Ramon and A.J."

Federowicz got his first start at catcher, while Hernandez made his first Dodgers appearance as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, striking out looking against Jason Grilli.