PHOENIX — The Dodgers made some more roster cuts on Tuesday, sending five position players to minor league camp. Outfielder Brett Eibner was optioned to the minors, while non-roster invitees Willie Calhoun, Jose Miguel Fernandez, Darnell Sweeney and Alex Verdugo were all reassigned to the minors.
The Dodgers now have 46 players remaining in major league camp.
Verdugo and Calhoun were ranked the Dodgers’ fourth- and seventh-best prospects, respectively, by our own David Hood heading into the 2017 season.
Eibner was acquired from the A’s on Jan. 25, adding to the Dodgers outfield depth someone who could play all three positions. Last week he talked about his role.
"I know I'm not going to be an everyday starter here,” Eibner said. “I want to be able to show that I can come on and off the bench and still have good at-bats, and am ready to go out and play defense or run the bases, whatever it is they need me to do.”
He played in 19 Cactus League games and hit .306/.405/.639 with four doubles, two home runs and a triple.
Calhoun’s first big league camp was unique in that the club essentially broke him down to build him back up defensively at second base. The Dodgers’ fourth-round pick in 2015 reported to camp early and has been doing extra work every morning, working with infield coach Chris Woodward and also the strength and conditioning staff all spring.
He was putting in so much work that the Dodgers held him out of Cactus League games until March 5. Calhoun said on Monday that he lost 16 pounds since he reported to camp.
"Coming in an having to all this extra work was really tough for me, but it's something the organization put together for me and I was able to handle really well,” Calhoun said. “I've just been busting my ass and giving my all.”
Calhoun was 9-for-25 (.360) with two doubles and a home run in Cactus League play.
Sweeney played in a team-leading 21 games this spring, and was 11-for-37 (.297) with two home runs and two walks.
Verdugo, who doesn’t turn 21 until May, was in his first camp as well. He was 3-for-13 (.231) with a home run and a double in nine games, and also played for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.
Fernandez, 29 in April, was signed to a minor league deal by the Dodgers in January. He was one of the best players in Cuba before defecting, but didn’t play much competitive baseball for the last year.
The Dodgers got a look at Fernandez at second base and third base this spring, and he played in 18 Cactus League games, though he was 4-for-24 (.167) with a double and four walks.