GLENDALE -- The Dodgers host the Rockies for their final Cactus League game of 2014, but will mostly be hoping to get through the game without any setbacks or injuries. The decisions for the Australia roster have for the most part already been made but could change if something were to happen in Sunday's finale.
But it appears clear that the three exempt players - who will be on the 28-man active roster but will stay behind in Arizona - will be Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Brandon League.
Greinke has been playing catchup since suffering a right calf strain in his Cactus League opener, and Haren is going through a dead-arm period after being the only starter in camp not to pitch with extra rest. Both will remain in Arizona and pitch in minor league games.
"The way our roster is setting up, they're staying here but they aren't on the DL or anything," manager Don Mattingly said. "They'll continue their work and meet us back in LA."
League pitched in a minor league game on Friday, and will pitch in another one today.
"The biggest thing for us with Brandon is we feel like this is the best for him, to pitch over there," Mattingly said. "He basically got behind early in camp. I think he's tried to rush a little bit to get back in line with everybody else."
League was sidelined early in spring training by a strained lat. In his three Cactus League outings he has a 16.88 ERA, allowing five runs on four hits and four walks in just 2⅔ innings, with only one strikeout. He has been working with pitching coaches Rick Honeycutt and Ken Howell is trying to recapture the form that he showed after the Dodgers acquired League at the trade deadline in 2012, when he put up a 2.30 ERA in 28 games, with 27 strikeouts in 27⅓ innings.
"Kenny and Rick have looked at some things with him, kind of getting back to '12. We feel like he got away from it a little bit. We're trying to just get back on that track," Mattingly said. "The ball is coming out good, and there's nothing wrong with his arm. For us, it's just getting the habits back that we're trying to work on, and put him in a situation to work that it's not going to go backwards."
Mattingly said that League is healthy, and that the team has discussed leaving him behind in Arizona to pitch in minor league games for nearly two weeks rather than take him to Australia, where he might pitch one of the two games, and likely only in a low-leverage situation.
"He would not be a DL guy. He's healthy, there's nothing wrong with him," Mattingly said. "Anything that we do is based on the best thing for the team, the best thing for that guy to have success, and give him the best chance to make sure we're ready to roll for the long haul."
The roster doesn't technically need to be finalized until next Friday night, but most of the moves should be revealed after today's game.
Hyun-jin Ryu makes the start for the Dodgers on Sunday, preparing for his March 23 start in Sydney against the Diamondbacks (7 p.m. PT on March 22 in Los Angeles). He threw 69 pitches in his outing on Monday, so look for Ryu to be extended to roughly 85 pitches or six innings today.
Matt Kemp has Sunday off but will continue to play in minor league games while the team is away. "As much as anything, he'll be basically just having spring training," Mattingly said. "It's kind of the start of spring training for him, getting his at-bats, playing in games. He'll build up his innings, and anything that could happen during a game he'll have to deal with. It could be a slide, it could be making a play in the field."
Mattingly said Carl Crawford has been officially ruled out for Australia. The left fielder will be placed on the paternity list.
Chone Figgins will be on the plane to Australia, a sure sign he will make the team (it's still possible he could be one of the five extra players not on the active roster, though that's unlikely). "There's definitely a value there with Figgy," Mattingly said. "We still feel like the body is live. He's been running good, with no issues."
A UCL injury has knocked Patrick Corbin out of the Australia opening series for the Diamondbacks, who will instead start Wade Miley in the first game. "Well obviously that's unfortunate for him," Mattingly said. "It changes our planning a little bit, but you never want to see anyone have surgeries or if it's a major injury."
Pitching after Ryu on Sunday for the Dodgers are Kenley Jansen, Chris Perez and J.P. Howell, all three throwing on the second of back-to-back days. Chris Withrow, who pitched Friday, will also pitch today.
Minor leaguers in uniform for the Dodgers on Sunday include pitchers Fu-Te Ni (No. 84), Rob Rogers (90), catcher Jan Vasquez (87), infielder Ozzie Martinez (88), and outfielders Jamie Romak (94) and Jon Garcia (89).