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Dodgers option Alex Verdugo, reassign Rocky Gale to minor league camp

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MLB: Spring Training-San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

MESA — The Dodgers further trimmed their roster heading into the off day, optioning outfielder Alex Verdugo and reassigning catcher Rocky Gale to minor league camp after Tuesday’s win over the A’s.

These moves leaves 32 players in major league camp, but subtracting the disabled list-bound Julio Urias, Tom Koehler and Justin Turner there are effectively 29 players remaining in camp. Four more cuts to go to reach the opening day roster.

Verdugo is the Dodgers’ top position player prospect after hitting .314/.389/.436 for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2017, and he doesn’t turn 22 until May. He played sparingly in his first major league call-up, going 4-for-23 (.174) with a home run and two walks in 15 games. He also showed up late to a game in Washington D.C. in mid-September and was played only sparingly afterward.

“I just want to prove to them that on and off the field I’m ready to handle this and that I’m mature enough to go forward with it all,” Verdugo said last week. “Performance-wise I don’t worry about that because that’s going to come and go. People will have their streaks but it’s about how you stay mentally and if you’re consistent every day with your attitude and work.”

Verdugo had a strong spring, going 11-for-34 (.324) with two home runs, four doubles and two walks in 18 Cactus League games. He faced an uphill battle in a crowded outfield that already has a hard time finding time for Andrew Toles, Joc Pederson and Trayce Thompson.

“I know he’s bought into routine and the preparation, and that’s translated itself into the box and his work out there in the field playing defense,” manager Dave Roberts said. “His skill set is very good. He can do almost anything out there on a baseball field. He’s fun to watch.”

Gale was signed to a minor league contract on Feb. 26, after camp opened and appeared in 10 games, going 3-for-12 (.250). He caught 17 Cactus League innings.