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Chris Anderson, Jharel Cotton among 8 Dodgers sent to minor league camp in latest roster cuts

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Jharel Cotton (left), Chris Anderson (center) and Jacob Rhame (right) were sent to minor league camp by the Dodgers on Monday.
Jharel Cotton (left), Chris Anderson (center) and Jacob Rhame (right) were sent to minor league camp by the Dodgers on Monday.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

PHOENIX -- The Dodgers trimmed their roster with several cuts on Monday, with a total of eight players sent to minor league camp on the day the minor league spring training schedule officially begins.

Pitcher Jharel Cotton was optioned to the minors, while pitchers Chris Anderson, Lisalverto Bonilla, Chase De Jong, Caleb Dirks and Jacob Rhame, catcher Kyle Farmer and outfielder Alex Hassan were reassigned to minor league camp.

The only difference in the terminology is that Cotton is the only one of the eight players on the 40-man roster, added in November.

Cotton, 24, allowed three runs in an inning in each of his last two Cactus League appearances, allowing six runs on 12 hits in four total innings this spring, his most recent game on Sunday at Salt River Fields. Cotton was being stretched out as a starter during his first big league camp, though his role to open the season may depend on the depth chart at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

In 2015, Cotton struck out 114 in 95⅔ innings while putting up a 2.45 ERA. He started 11 times and made 10 relief appearances last year, and ended the season in the Triple-A bullpen, fueling questions about his eventual major league role.

Anderson was the Dodgers' first-round pick in 2013. He allowed a run on three hits in his four innings of work this spring, with six strikeouts and three walks. He pitched the ninth inning of the Dodgers' 6-2 win over Milwaukee on Monday.

Rhame, who turns 23 on Wednesday, allowed two runs on three hits in his three Cactus League innings. The 2013 sixth-round pick has put up two solid seasons of relief, including a 2.68 ERA in 2015, with 70 strikeouts in 57 innings, mostly in Double-A Tulsa. He credited fastball command for his success on the mound.

"When I came in I was just a hard thrower and sprayed it everywhere. Working with the coaches here, they have gotten me more consistent with my fastball and I'm spotting it lower in the zone," Rhame said. "I'm just worried about throwing strikes, getting outs every inning."

The Dodgers got Dirks from the Braves last July 2 as part of a trade involving an international bonus slot, and the former Cal Baptist pitcher put up a 1.16 ERA in 23 games between Class-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa after joining the Dodgers. Throwing strikes was paramount in his success as well.

"I focused on trying to get ahead early in counts, and then with two strikes whether to go fastball up or to use my slider," Dirks said. "For me the biggest thing is just getting ahead early and staying on the attack, not trying to be too fine around the zone, and not putting the hitters in hitters' counts, because that's when it can be difficult to pitch."

De Jong was another pitcher the Dodgers acquired last July 2 in an international bonus slot swap, this one with the Blue Jays. The right-handed starter allowed two runs in four innings in his two Cactus League appearances, the last on Saturday night against Seattle in Peoria.

Bonilla, 25, is recovering from Tommy John surgery he had last April.

Farmer was 2-for-5 in his five Cactus League games, though has caught only three innings in Cactus League play. Farmer was the designated hitter for the Dodgers on Monday morning in their 'B' game against the White Sox on the back fields at Camelback Ranch.

Hassan, who turns 28 in April, was signed to a minor league contract on Dec. 17, 2015. The right-handed outfielder was 5-for-14 (.357) with a double and two walks in Cactus League play. Hassan appeared in 11 of the Dodgers' 13 games, including 28 innings in right field and 10 innings in left field this spring.

"With the guys going to the other side early on, it gave them an opportunity to get a look over here and for us to get eyes on them, but also for them to start getting ready for their season," manager Dave Roberts said on Sunday.

After these moves, the Dodgers have 53 active players in big league camp, including 27 pitchers, 26 position players and 14 non-roster invitees.