De Jesus, Miles look set for Dodgers roster
Bullpen, left-field platoon decisions still on tap
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Barring injuries, the Dodgers' Opening Day roster is set essentially, if not officially, with strong indications that Ivan De Jesus and Aaron Miles will join Jamey Carroll as extra infielders.
Meanwhile, the final bullpen spot will apparently go to left-hander Scott Elbert, with one caveat. Lance Cormier, the only other contender after Ramon Troncoso was optioned to Minor League camp Sunday morning, was asked to accept a Minor League assignment, but he said he told the club he would not.
Cormier has an out in his contract starting Sunday, but he said he was not yet a free agent and that "the ball is in their court."
"I signed here to pitch in the Major Leagues," said Cormier, who pitched all last season with Tampa Bay, making 60 appearances with a 3.92 ERA.
Veteran Juan Castro, a contender for the last utility spot, was also told by the club that, barring an injury, he won't make the team. He will remain in Arizona, working with the Minor Leaguers, and his agent has permission to look for a Major League job elsewhere.
Castro (.387 batting average) had a very good spring training, but so did De Jesus (.333) and Miles (.319). DeJesus, who has never appeared in the Major Leagues, is the future. Miles has more offensive potential than Castro, but lacks the slick-fielding hands.
While Casey Blake is hurt, DeJesus figures to get most of the playing time at second base, with Juan Uribe playing third.
With either Elbert or Cormier, the seven-man bullpen includes Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, Matt Guerrier, Kenley Jansen, Blake Hawksworth and Mike MacDougal. The starters are Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda. MacDougal, a non-roster pitcher like Cormier, said he still had not been told he made the club.
The infield has James Loney, Rafael Furcal, Uribe, Jamey Carroll, De Jesus and Miles. Rod Barajas is the starting catcher, and it appears Hector Gimenez (out of options) will be kept as the back-up over A.J. Ellis.
The outfielders are Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Marcus Thames, Jay Gibbons, Tony Gwynn and Xavier Paul (out of options). One decision still to be announced is the left-handed hitting platoon-mate for Thames in left field. Gibbons, Gwynn and Paul are in the running, although all are expected to be on the club regardless.
Expected to start the season on the disabled list are Blake (back), Dioner Navarro (oblique), Vicente Padilla (arm surgery) and Jon Garland (oblique).
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.