Dodgers opening day roster options

Rob Tringali

A look at who is battling for the final few roster spots as the Dodgers break camp in Arizona.

Clayton Kershaw and Felix Hernandez face off for the Dodgers and Mariners in Peoria on getaway day, but thoughts turn to the Dodgers' roster, most of which is already on their way back to Los Angeles.

The Dodgers have 36 players remaining in big league camp, but the list won't get trimmed down to 25 until Sunday. With Hanley Ramirez and Scott Elbert sure to start the season on the disabled list, that means the Dodgers need to make nine cuts.

Though with Chad Billingsley toiling on the minor league side as he rediscovers his curve and Ted Lilly not yet built up thanks to several lost starts either via illness or rain, that could make two more DL candidates, reducing the number of needed cuts to seven. Lilly is pitching after Kershaw on Wednesday, but will be limited to 75 pitches, as he has not thrown more than 59 pitches in a single outing this spring.

"Teddy is not a guy who's built up," said manager Don Mattingly. "Honestly he's just behind everyone we've got, and I think Teddy know's it too. We've talked about it."

One of the seven cuts will be non-roster catcher Matt Wallach, who is still in camp with starter A.J. Ellis and backup Tim Federowicz. Another will be Stephen Fife, who is starting Thursday in Rancho Cucamonga.

Of the other three non-roster invitees left in camp, relief pitcher Kevin Gregg is the most likely to make the team. Gregg doesn't have a March out clause, nor do reliever Peter Moylan or utility man Alfredo Amezaga, but Mattingly spoke of the latter two differently than Gregg.

"(Moylan's) getting better as camp has gone on, but not as sharp as I've seen him in the past. I like him, and what he brings, and he's not a guy who gets shaken. In his last couple outings he has seemed closer to himself. He's coming off arm stuff, and the Braves really used him a lot," Mattingly said. "He's a guy who's coming and he's a guy that we have for a little bit too, so those always make it nice. It's the same in Alfredo's case. He's a guy who has shown he can do some things and who we have available, so we have some leeway."

Gregg and Moylan are in a battle with relievers Josh Wall, Paco Rodriguez, and starters Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, with five players battling for two spots, three if Billingsley opens on the DL.

The final bench spot is between Amezaga, Elian Herrera, and Alex Castellanos. Amezaga is fighting an uphill battle in two ways here, as if the Dodgers opt for the utility route with that final spot they would likely turn to Herrera, who is on the 40-man roster, and still hold onto Amezaga in Triple-A. Castellanos tied for the team lead this spring with four home runs and 11 RBI, but also hit just .217 with 16 strikeouts (and five walks) in 52 plate appearances.

"Castie has been kind of OK. He's showed us he could play the outfield, mostly right and left, and a little bit of center. He's shown a little bit of pop, obviously. I like Alex, he brings a lot of energy to the table," Mattingly said. "He's a guy who could pop the ball for you, so he kind of gives you some thump off the bench. Obviously right handed, he plays the spots that we talked about giving guys days sometimes."

Though the final roster moves will likely happen on Saturday or Sunday, most of the players know where they stand heading into the final weekend of spring.

"I try to give guys a heads up, that as of right now we're sure. Without an injury or something going on like a trade, these guys know where they are going to end up, even though it's not official," Mattingly said. "If we know that kind of information I try to let guys know so they're not packing everything trying to get an apartment in LA if they are not going to be in LA."

Notes

  • Mark Lowe, who was granted his release from the Dodgers on Sunday, signed a minor league deal with the Angels on Wednesday.
  • The rosters for the Rancho Cucamonga haven't yet been announced, but players for the Dodgers include Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Luis Cruz, Jerry Hairston Jr., and Amezaga. Stephen Fife will start that game for the Dodgers, while Chris Reed starts for the Quakes.
  • The Freeway Series status of Yasiel Puig, who was optioned to Double-A Chattanooga on Wednesday, is still unknown, or rather hasn't been revealed. Mattingly said there have been scenarios with Puig making the trip, and some with him staying back in minor league camp.
  • Minor leaguers in uniform today for Dodgers are plenty, including starters Scott Van Slyke and Nick Buss. In addition are pitchers Red Patterson, Hector Nelo, and Steve Smith; infielders Paul Hoenecke, Justin Sellers, Rafael Ynoa, Alexis Aguilar, Miguel Rojas, C.J. Retherford, and O`Koyea Dickson; and outfielders Robbie Garvey (signed out of the open tryout camp), Jeremy Rathjen, Joc Pederson, and Jonathan Garcia.

Game info

Time: 1:05 p.m. PT

TV: none

Radio: MLB.com (Mariners broadcast)

MLB Gameday

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