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Dodgers position players report to camp today

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PHOENIX -- We have reached reporting day for position players at Dodgers camp at Camelback Ranch, which means 22 more players officially check in for spring training. A quick glance at the roster tells us push is bound to come to shove in a few areas.

First of all, even though Wednesday is reporting day for position players, almost all have already been in camp, some for a week or longer. Basically, everyone but Andre Ethier, Alex Guerrero, Elian Herrera and Howie Kendrick was here already.

With the caveat that the 25-man roster is very fluid and will change often throughout the season, here is a look at what these 18 players are fighting for in Arizona.

For the most part, standard roster construction in recent years has seen 13 position players and 12 pitchers as the norm, and the Dodgers don't have any rash of early April off days that could give them the option for roster shenanigans to carry one fewer starting pitcher and an extra player somewhere else. If we assume 12 pitchers and two catchers on the active roster, that means these 22 position players are fighting for 11 active roster spots.

Let us not make fools of ourselves by assuming things, but I have these seven infielders and outfielders penciled in as starters, and feel fairly confident in doing so: Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig.

That leaves 15 position players fighting for just four spots.

If we use the old adage "follow the money," the inside track for these four jobs would include  left fielder Carl Crawford ($20.75 million salary in 2016), infielder Chase Utley (re-signed for $7 million), square peg Alex Guerrero ($5 million) and outfielder and first baseman Scott Van Slyke ($1.225 million).

But that would leave a bench without a backup shortstop, and a roster without super utility man Kiké Hernandez.

Kendrick falling back into the Dodgers' laps pushed Guerrero further down the depth chart, making him almost a man without a position heading into spring. But as president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said, lots of things can happen in spring training.

"He's had some versatility with his ability to play the infield and outfield. Things tend to happen over the course of spring training, as we saw last year and we do most years," Friedman said. "We'll figure it out as we get into March and look at exactly how we want to configure our roster, figuring out which pieces fit and which ones don't as well."

Not that this would necessarily happen on opening day, but in the early part of camp manager Dave Roberts has talked up catcher Austin Barnes and his ability to play third base and second base in addition to his work behind the plate. A three-catcher bench at some point of the season seems feasible, at least.

"You can't overlook Austin Barnes. You have to like the bat and the athleticism, the versatility that he creates," Roberts said. "As we move through spring training, we'll talk a little more. There is no one set way to construct a roster, and we're exploring options."

Trayce Thompson and Micah Johnson, both acquired from the White Sox this offseason, seem like spare parts at the moment ticketed for Triple-A Oklahoma City in the outfield and at second base respectively, but that could change.

Of the non-roster invitee position players, Cody Bellinger is the young prospect looking to make an impact in his first big league camp, Elian Herrera is the old friend who plays multiple positions in the infield and outfield, and Charlie Culberson might be the most useful of the group if only for his ability to play shortstop if needed.

Here is a list of the position players expected in Dodgers camp as of Wednesday morning:

Infielders (9): Charlie Culberson*, Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon Hicks*, Micah Johnson, Howie Kendrick, Corey Seager, Rob Segedin*, Justin Turner, Chase Utley

Infielder/outfielders (5): Cody Bellinger*, Alex Guerrero, Kiké Hernandez, Elian Herrera*, Scott Van Slyke

Outfielders (8): Corey Brown*, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Alex Hassan*, Rico Noel*, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Trayce Thompson.

*non-roster invitee

These things have a way of working themselves out, especially with a full 40 days until opening day in San Diego. But if they don't, the Dodgers will have a tough decision on their hands.

Let the competition begin!