Veteran Mientkiewicz leaves camp
Left-handed pinch-hitting role looks to be Anderson's
PHOENIX -- Non-roster veteran Doug Mientkiewicz has left Dodgers camp after being told he wouldn't make the club, essentially confirming that non-roster veteran Garret Anderson will be the primary left-handed pinch-hitter.
Manager Joe Torre said he broke the news to Mientkiewicz Friday and suggested he remain with the team as a coach. Mientkiewicz, who later met with general manager Ned Colletti, said he wanted to continue playing in the big leagues. Mientkiewicz then left camp to consider his options.
"He wants to play," said Torre. "I told him at this time, he would not make the team. It was no surprise when Garret Anderson came on the scene. He [Mientkiewicz] sort of knew."
Mientkiewicz played well this spring, hitting .292 with four RBIs in 24 at-bats.
The 35-year-old Mientkiewicz is a 10-year veteran who signed last year after Spring Training started. After a successful longshot bid to make the club, he blew out his throwing shoulder two weeks into the season with a head-first dive into second base, requiring major surgery. He played only 20 games last year, going 6-for-18 (.333).
A former Gold Glove winner, Mientkiewicz hasn't lost his defensive prowess, but his ability to throw is severely limited, even though Torre said he had improved as training camp progressed.
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The Dodgers, considering carrying 12 pitchers, didn't have room on the roster to keep both.
"He's a luxury at times," said Torre.
Anderson, despite signing two weeks after training camp opened, immediately made his presence felt. He is hitting .360 with a .520 slugging percentage in 26 at-bats and, at age 37, is still serviceable in left field.
Torre would not confirm that Anderson had made the club but indicated that was only because he hadn't told Anderson first.
Torre said he hopes to have a decision on whether the Dodgers will go with 11 or 12 pitchers by Monday.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.