Dodgers invite Thomas Melgarejo, C.J. Retherford, Miguel Rojas to spring training

Miguel Rojas applies a tag during spring training for the Reds last season. - Norm Hall

The minor league contracts given to the left-handed pitcher and two infielders bring the total number of non-roster invitees to Dodgers' major league camp in spring training to 11.

We have three more players to add to the list of non-roster invitees to spring training by the Dodgers, as left-handed pitcher Thomas Melgarejo, third baseman C.J. Retherford, and shortstop Miguel Rojas will begin their 2013 in major league camp at Camelback Ranch.

Remember on Friday when we reported on five players getting non-roster invitations to spring training? Those signings all came in the week of Nov. 13-19 and were reported by Matt Eddy of Baseball America. Melgarejo, Retherford, and Rojas were also included on that list, but not all minor league signings include an invitation to major league camp; in fact, the vast majority do not include it. But Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reported on Sunday night that these three will in fact be joining major league camp with the Dodgers.

Dodgers pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb. 12, while position players report to Camelback Ranch on Feb. 15. The first full-squad workout is Saturday, Feb. 16.

Retherford hit .311/.366/.546 with 23 home runs and 25 doubles in 118 games across two levels this year, including .343/.395/.633 in 74 games with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. Retherford hit an absurd .458/.534/.948 with 13 home runs in 26 games in June for the Quakes and won the organization's Pride Award for the month at that level (voted on monthly by players and staff at each level). Though when considering that Retherford turned 27 in August and hit just .250/.311/.378 with three home runs in 44 games with Double-A Chattanooga after his July 10 promotion, Retherford seems more like the next Jeff Baisley than the next Casey Blake.

Rojas, who turns 24 in February, hit .199/.263/.224 with four doubles and one home run in 102 games for Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville in the Reds' system in 2012. The Venezuelan has played mostly shortstop, as 460 of his 544 minor league games have been played at short, but he has also mixed in time at third base and second base. Evan Chavez (formerly @newmexicofan on Twitter) wrote a little bit about Rojas on his new blog, I Bleed Dodger Blue 2.

Melgarejo was 0-1 with a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings with the Saltillo Sarpareros of the Mexican League in 2012, with 11 strikeouts and six walks. He also pitched nine games for Class-A Wilmington in the Carolina League, and put up a 3.12 ERA with 12 strikeouts and five walks in 17⅓ innings for the Royals' affiliate. Melgarejo, who turns 26 in January, was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2005 out of Veracruz, Mexico by Mike Brito, and was in the Dodgers' organization for seven years before Kansas City took him in the minor league phase of last year's Rule 5 draft. Outside of his nine games with Wilmington in 2012 and two games with Class-A Inland Empire in 2010, the left-hander has pitched in the Mexican League for the last three years, putting up a 2.62 ERA in 99⅔ innings with 75 strikeouts and 41 walks for Saltillo.

This brings the total number of non-roster invitees for the Dodgers to 11, and the list will grow. The Dodgers have opened big league camp in both 2011 and 2012 with 20 non-roster invitees.

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