The Dodgers made three more roster cuts on Tuesday, optioning Shawn Tolleson and Justin Sellers, and also reassigned catcher Jesus Flores to minor league camp. Sending Flores down confirms what has been apparent for a few weeks, that Tim Federowicz is the Dodgers' backup catcher.
Well, unless Matt Wallach beats him out, that is. Wallach, Federowicz and A.J. Ellis are the only three catchers remaining in big league camp, but the 27-year-old Wallach will likely end up either in Double-A Chattanooga or a fourth straight year or in Triple-A Albuquerque. But manager Don Mattingly talked about Federowicz on Tuesday morning.
"He showed us that he doesn't belong in Triple-A anymore. From that standpoint we're comfortable with where he's at and where he's going," Mattingly said.
Spring training stats aren't the final arbiter of course, but Flores collecting one hit in 18 Cactus League at-bats probably didn't help. Though Federowicz is only hitting .167/.259/.208 this spring, though the Dodgers like him more for his defense and view any offense from the position as icing on the cake.
"I look at Fed like a backup quarterback in the NFL, who gets to sit there and learn," Mattingly said. "Obviously he'll play, but he'll be able to and learn from A.J., and be a part of the big leagues as far as calling the games with all the work that we're asking our catchers to do."
Tolleson spent the final four months of the season in the Dodgers bullpen, and put up a 4.30 ERA in 37⅔ innings, with 39 strikeouts and 20 walks. He allowed one run in seven Cactus League contests, with six strikeouts in 6⅔ innings, but also was competing with Josh Wall, Paco Rodriguez, Mark Lowe, Kevin Gregg, and Peter Moylan for a bullpen spot, and that's before factoring in what to do with the three excess starting pitchers.
"With Tolly, he really didn't do anything wrong. I think the numbers were kind of creeping up on him. He was actually throwing the ball better lately for me, but we feel like he's still got some things to keep working on, like his fastball command," Mattingly said. "He's got more weapons than he was able to show last year, and we want him to be able to continue that work. Honestly over here right now, we're out of innings."
Sellers was far down the infield depth chart, and hitting just .150/.190/.150 (3-for-20) during the spring. Sellers has hit .204/.283/.323 in parts of two big league seasons.
With the moves, the Dodgers are down to 40 players in big league camp, including five non-roster invitees.