GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The return of Ronald Belisario again has dealt a blow to the career of Ramon Troncoso.
The Dodgers on Thursday designated Troncoso for assignment. Troncoso was out of options and obviously had no chance to make the Opening Day roster.
The timing of the move was necessitated by the need to clear a 40-man roster spot for the activation of Belisario off the restricted list, which was required by MLB rules to take place Thursday. Belisario, however, will begin a 25-game suspension for violating the MLB drug program on Opening Day.
Belisario also is out of options, so once he serves his suspension, he either will be activated onto the Major League roster or would need to clear waivers before he can be sent to the Minor Leagues.
The 29-year-old Troncoso, after needing four seasons in the Dominican Rookie League, seemed headed to a promising career with he posted a 2.72 ERA in 73 appearances in 2009. But early in '10, with Belisario on the restricted list for reporting late to Spring Training, Troncoso assumed an exhaustive workload, and his sinker hasn't been the same. He made only five appearances with the Dodgers last year.
Troncoso was competing for the final long-relief spot in the bullpen. That competition now is among Jamey Wright, Josh Lindblom, John Grabow, Angel Guzman, Wil Ledezma, Fernando Nieve and Scott Rice.
According to general manager Ned Colletti, Wright and Grabow have opt-out clauses they can trigger on Sunday, which gives the Dodgers until Mar. 30 to guarantee their Major League salaries or grant their releases.
Dodgers national anthem auditions March 31
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Auditions for singing the national anthem at Dodgers home games this season, including the April 3 exhibition game against the Angels, will take place Saturday, March 31, at Dodger Stadium.
Entry into the auditions is free and will be held from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. PT on a first-come, first-served basis, but entrants must be in the stadium by 11 a.m. Performers are asked to bring a resume and DVD copy of their anthem rendition. Each performer is allowed one guest.
Those auditioning will sing a portion of the song a capella, and performers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Entry to the stadium will be through the Sunset Gate on Elysian Park Avenue, with parking in Lot G. The stadium will be entered through the Field Level on the third-base concourse and auditions will be held in front of the Dodgers dugout.
The waiver form is available at www.dodgers.com/anthem. National anthem renditions can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dodger Stadium Express shuttle available
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers and Metro will offer Dodger Stadium Express bus service from Union Station to Dodger Stadium through a grant approved by the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee, the club announced Thursday.
The program, which begins for the April 3 exhibition game against the Angels, is funded by a $300,000 grant to support clean fuel transit. Dodgers game tickets will be honored as fare payment. Otherwise, the cost will be $1.50 each way. More than 116,000 riders used the service last year.
The Dodger Stadium Express will pick up fans at the Patsaouras Bus Plaza adjacent to the east portal of Union Station and continue to Dodger Stadium via Sunset Blvd. and Cesar Chavez Avenue. Passengers will be dropped off and picked up in Dodger Stadium's parking lot G in center field. Service will start 90 minutes prior to the beginning of the games and will end 45 minutes after the end of the game. Shuttles will run every 10 minutes before the game and run approximately every 30 minutes after the game starts.
The buses will run on compressed natural gas. For specific route and schedule information visit www.metro.net. More information about the Dodger Stadium Express can also be found at www.dodgers.com/express.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.