© 2005 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

04/03/05 8:26 PM ET

Notes: Club regroups as season nears

Tracy says all the injuries will not be used as an excuse

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers prepared for the opening series in San Francisco with separate scouting-report meetings for hitters and pitchers Sunday morning before the Freeway Series finale, and manager Jim Tracy sandwiched in a full-team meeting.

Among the talking points was the slew of injuries that forced to the disabled list five players -- Wilson Alvarez, Eric Gagne, Darren Dreifort, Brad Penny and Jayson Werth.

"We've never used the disabled list as an excuse to not succeed and we're certainly not going to start now," said Tracy. "We will find ways in people's absences."

The five disabled players represent nearly $29 million of the Dodgers' $100 million payroll. Dreifort will not play again. The others are expected back, perhaps in weeks.

Roster details: The Dodgers' Opening Day roster includes 13 players not on the team last year (Paul Bako, Buddy Carlyle, J.D. Drew, Scott Erickson, D.J. Houlton, Jeff Kent, Ricky Ledee, Derek Lowe, Jason Phillips, Jason Repko, Steve Schmoll, Jose Valentin and Kelly Wunsch), three rookies (Houlton, Repko and Schmoll) and four non-roster pitchers (Carlyle, Erickson, Schmoll and Wunsch).

In an amazing statistic -- considering the Dodgers' legendary player development history -- one player originally drafted by the organization made the club (Repko), and only because Werth broke his wrist. Schmoll is also home grown, having been a non-drafted free agent.

The only five holdovers from the roster at the time Paul DePodesta replaced Dan Evans as general manager less than 14 months ago are Cesar Izturis, Odalis Perez, Olmedo Saenz, Duaner Sanchez and Jeff Weaver.

Of the $100 million payroll, the Dodgers are paying $14 million in salaries to other teams' players (Juan Encarnacion, Shawn Green, Kazuhisa Ishii and Tom Martin).

Opening Day lineup:
1. Cesar Izturis, SS
2. Hee-Seop Choi, 1B
3. J.D. Drew, RF
4. Jeff Kent, 2B
5. Milton Bradley, CF
6. Jose Valentin, 3B
7. Ricky Ledee, LF
8. Jason Phillips, C
9. Derek Lowe, P


Nakamura hurt: After a trip to the plate and a trip to the hospital, the Dodgers still don't know if Norihiro Nakamura will take a trip to Triple-A Las Vegas and accept his minor league assignment.

The Japanese third baseman did not give Dodgers management a decision Sunday, but he played in the final exhibition game against the Angels, walking and scoring on Jason Grabowski's double only to suffer bruised ribs in a collision at the plate with catcher Jose Molina. X-rays taken at Centinela Hospital Medical Center were negative.

After learning Saturday night that he had not made the Major League roster for Opening Day, Nakamura said he would talk to his family and agent before notifying the Dodgers whether he would accept the minor league assignment.

DePodesta expects to speak with Nakamura's agent Monday. Although the Dodgers purchased Nakamura's rights from his Japanese team through the posting system and Nakamura's $550,000 contract does not have an escape clause, DePodesta said he would not prevent Nakamura from joining another club if it meant fulfilling his dream of playing in the Major Leagues.

"We have so much respect for him and for what he's accomplished. We'll do the right thing if he has a better opportunity somewhere else," DePodesta said. "I wouldn't stand in his way if there's an opportunity to play in the Major Leagues and we couldn't match that opportunity."

Game recap: Erickson tuned up for his Game 5 start by allowing one run over six innings, but Elmer Dessens had the opposite results in his last outing prior to his Game 4 start Friday.

Dessens was charged with four runs, allowing six consecutive hits and retiring only one batter. Included was a three-run pinch-hit homer by Curtis Pride.

Rule 5 pick Houlton controlled the damage by retiring his two batters after relieving Dessens. In the ninth inning, Schmoll made his Dodger Stadium debut, hitting a batter in a hitless inning. Schmoll was the most surprising player to make the Opening Day roster. He pitched primarily at Class A last year with a one-month callup to Double-A and was not invited to Major League camp, arriving three weeks later with the minor leaguers.

Dodgertown report: Penny threw four innings in a minor league camp game Sunday in Vero Beach, Fla., striking out seven and reporting no problems with his arm. In five days he will pitch in another camp game or a Florida State League game on a rehabilitation assignment. The club remains hopeful he could be activated for an April 19 start, the second time a fifth starter is needed.

Alvarez continues to throw off flat ground, but is not expected to try throwing off a mound for several more days.

There is no change in Werth's wrist, meaning he still is unable to swing a bat and continues to experience discomfort when he tries to catch.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.