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12/22/10 4:50 PM EST
Dodgers' minicamp offers glimpse of future
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- As they've been doing in recent years, the Dodgers again have let the world know which farmhands might make a Major League impact by "inviting" them to an annual developmental minicamp, to be held at Dodger Stadium Jan. 7-15. Here's the invitation list: Pitchers (8): Chris Withrow, Rubby De La Rosa, Javy Guerra, Ethan Martin, Aaron Miller, Nathan Eovaldi, Steven Ames, Luis Vasquez. Position Players (8): Matt Wallach, Gorman Erickson, Justin Sellers, Dee Gordon, Kyle Russell, Trayvon Robinson, Jerry Sands, Pedro Baez. The group includes last year's organization pitcher of the year (De La Rosa) and the past two players of the year (Gordon and Sands). Also included are three top-pick pitchers -- Withrow, Martin and Miller -- who have shown flashes of brilliance but haven't advanced through the system as quickly as hoped. Guerra and Robinson will miss three days as they attend MLB's development program with prospects from other organizations. Guerra is recovering from a gash on his pitching hand. Seven of last year's invitees appeared in the Major Leagues for the Dodgers during the season. They were Carlos Monasterios, John Ely, Jon Link, Travis Schlichting, Kenley Jansen, A.J. Ellis and Russell Mitchell. This will be the fourth year of the developmental minicamp, which is designed to take the best and brightest of the farm system, accelerate their Major League arrival and aid acclimation to what they will encounter when they get there. Among earlier participants are Clayton Kershaw and Blake DeWitt. Assistant general manager De Jon Watson's minicamp also allows club officials to get a line on each player's conditioning prior to Spring Training and to tweak flaws in a pitcher's delivery or a hitter's swing before the start of the real camp, where the player is focused on making the club. They receive coaching on baseball skills, but also are instructed in aspects of Major League Baseball that should be essential but often are overlooked, from media relations to security issues to interaction with fans and the importance of community outreach. In addition to a daily workout at the stadium, the players will meet with former Dodgers and attend functions in the community.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.