02/24/11 2:50 PM EST
Non-roster pitchers look to seize chance
Dodgers have many options to replace Padilla
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Even in a best-case return before the All-Star break, the Dodgers will need more pitchers than they thought when they signed Padilla to be a swingman. Of course, they signed Padilla correctly anticipating they wouldn't have Ronald Belisario, and now the Dodgers will start the season without either.
The two vacancies improve chances to make the bullpen for young Major League roster pitchers Scott Elbert, John Ely, Jon Link, Carlos Monasterios and Travis Schlichting. Each pitched for the Dodgers last year but with options remaining can be sent to the Minor Leagues.
2010 Spring Training - Los Angeles Dodgers
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Spring Training Info
Not so with the boatload of non-roster veterans general manager Ned Colletti plucked off the scrap heap. The non-roster invitees have varied backgrounds. Most are retread veterans trying to extend a career. One is a raw prospect stepping up to show he's arrived faster than expected.
There are 10 non-roster pitchers in camp, eight with Major League experience. Only one -- 21-year-old Rubby De La Rosa -- is a top prospect. Two (De La Rosa and Jon Huber) were in the Dodgers' Minor League system last year.The Dodgers have had a recent string of non-roster pitchers make the team and an impact, including All-Star closer Takashi Saito, the late Jose Lima, three-time AWOL Belisario, Jeff Weaver, Rudy Seanez and Chan Ho Park.
The following are capsules of the non-roster pitchers invited to camp:Roman Colon, 31, RHP -- This is his 15th professional season and he had a great Spring Training last year to make the Royals Opening Day roster, but after a month he was released and wound up pitching in Korea. He signed with the Dodgers because they became his favorite team when they signed his older brother, Daniel, in 1989.
Lance Cormier, 30, RHP -- If last year's numbers are any indication, he's the favorite to make the club. He made 60 appearances for Tampa with a 3.92 ERA and was particularly tough against left-handed hitters, but he also had fewer strikeouts than walks. Tampa non-tendered him after he threw 210 innings over the past three years and he was still looking for work until February.
Rubby De La Rosa, 21, RHP -- Jumped past a bunch of first-round picks to be the best pitching prospect in the organization last season. A year earlier, he was sent home early when he popped off to a trainer. He throws hard and effortlessly and doesn't lack confidence.
Wilkin De La Rosa, 26, LHP -- Converted from the outfield in 2007, he left the Yankees as a six-year free agent. He throws hard and has been wild, but he improved over the second half last year at Double-A.
Dana Eveland, 27, LHP -- Traded twice last year, he opened the season with Toronto but spent time in the Minors and had surgery to clean out elbow chips and spurs in November. He's primarily a starting pitcher, but he's already on the shelf, having strained a hamstring in the first workout for pitchers and catchers.
Jon Huber, 29, RHP -- This is his 11th professional season and he hasn't had a big league callup since 2007. He spent most of last season dominating for the Dodgers as a closer in Double-A, where he first pitched in 2005.
Mike MacDougal, 33, RHP -- An intriguing project because he still throws hard. He's saved at least 20 games in three different big league seasons but has always had control problems. He split the 2010 season between the Toronto and St. Louis organizations while trying to come back from hip surgery, which he said is now fully healed, and a sinus infection that sapped his strength.
Ron Mahay, 39, LHP -- A classic situational lefty in his 20th season, the first five as an outfielder. Spent the last two seasons with the Twins, missing the last five weeks of last season with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. If management carries a second lefty behind Hong-Chih Kuo, it's either Mahay or Elbert. Mahay said he turned down big league contracts because he felt he was a better fit for the Dodgers.
Tim Redding, 33, RHP -- Probably the lukewarm early favorite to be considered the "sixth starter" because he's had two big league seasons with at least 10 victories, most recently 2008 with Washington. But he couldn't get to the big leagues with the Yankees last year and finished the season pitching in Korea.
Oscar Villarreal, 29, RHP -- He pitched last year for Philadelphia at Triple-A, missed the 2009 season with Tommy John surgery and last pitched in the Major Leagues in 2008. In 2003 he appeared in 86 games for Arizona to set an NL rookie record.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.