2/14/2013 5:57 P.M. ET
Top prospect Puig makes first clubhouse appearance
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With the remaining Dodgers position players set to report Friday in advance of Saturday's first full-squad workout, Cuban defector Yasiel Puig made his first appearance in the Major League clubhouse on Thursday.
The Dodgers signed Puig to a $42 million deal last summer, a stunning splash to announce the franchise's return to the international talent market.
But unlike 25-year-old Hyun-Jin Ryu, who dominated in the Korean professional league, Puig was only 21 and hadn't played any organized ball in more than a year. Elevating the risk is that he was given a Major League roster spot, starting the clock on his options that will require him to reach the Major Leagues by 2016. MLB.com ranks Puig as the Dodgers' top prospect.
Puig, a muscular 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, is considered a corner outfielder with light-tower power. He played only 23 games in the low Minors for the Dodgers last year and was scratched from the Arizona Fall League because of an elbow infection.
To make up for that lost opportunity, Puig was sent to the Puerto Rican Winter League, where he hit .232 with one home run in 69 at-bats. He said his arm is healed and he's eager to see how his game plays against the top level of competition.
"That's what Spring Training is for, for me to figure that out," Puig said.
Ellis, Belisario among four Dodgers out of options
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers have four players who are out of options, but that should not impact the club's decisions for the Opening Day roster.
The four players are catcher A.J. Ellis, right-handed reliever Ronald Belisario, third baseman Luis Cruz and left-handed reliever Scott Elbert.
Ellis, the Dodgers' starting catcher, is coming off an impressive first season in that role.
Belisario, who will share the right-handed setup job with Kenley Jansen, went 8-1 with a 2.54 ERA last season once he returned from a 25-game suspension for testing positive for cocaine in 2011.
Cruz is tentatively the starting third baseman, but even if Hanley Ramirez is moved over to the hot corner, Cruz likely would make the club as the primary backup corner infielder.
Elbert will begin the season on the disabled list as he recovers from a second elbow operation. When able to pitch, he would first need a Minor League rehab assignment. The option situation would only come into play if his performance doesn't warrant a Major League role once he's healthy.
Players who are out of options cannot be sent to the Minor Leagues without first clearing waivers, which gives every other club a chance to claim the player.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.