Roster could get quick facelift
Colletti leaves wiggle room to swing trade before opener
LOS ANGELES -- Buying time to continue searching for an infielder, the Dodgers submitted an Opening Day roster by Sunday's noon deadline that club officials acknowledged would likely change before Opening Day and, in fact, changed before Sunday was even done.
Injuries to third basemen Nomar Garciaparra, Andy LaRoche and Tony Abreu have left the club uncomfortable with rookie Blake DeWitt the likely starter when the season opens on Monday against the Giants. In addition, Jeff Kent's durability is questionable coming off a right hamstring injury.
Colletti said a trade in the next 24 hours was doubtful, but he wanted the wiggle room if one happened or if a third baseman good enough to start for the Dodgers was released. Philadelphia's Wes Helms (owed $2.9 million) is the most likely candidate.
If neither happens by Monday, Colletti said the club would scout available players over the next two weeks while watching how the 22-year-old DeWitt fares against Major League pitching. DeWitt has never played higher than Double-A.
"[A trade] is still viable, but as usual, what they are asking us to give up is a little strong because of the predicament we're in," said Colletti, who only wants a stop-gap solution until Garciaparra or LaRoche return in a matter of weeks. "We'll take time to see if the price comes down and see what those players look like in the next week to 10 days. Spring Training is tough to judge."
Before Sunday's game, Colletti placed Garciaparra, LaRoche and pitcher Jason Schmidt on the 15-day disabled list. Abreu is likely to join them on Monday. Reassigned to Minor League camp were non-roster pitchers Chan Ho Park, Brian Falkenborg, Mike Koplove, Clayton Kershaw and Greg Jones; catchers Rene Rivera and Danny Ardoin and infielder Ramon Martinez.
After Sunday's game vs. the Red Sox, the Dodgers optioned outfielder Jason Repko to Triple-A Las Vegas, essentially leaving their active roster at 24.
Repko said he was disappointed with the news, but felt he had proved he was healthy after missing the entire 2007 season with hamstring surgery.
"I did all I could do," he said. "The writing was on the wall. We've got too many outfielders. It's hard to know that you're good enough but there's no space."
The moves meant 25-year-old rookie reliever Ramon Troncoso beat out Park for the final spot on an 11-man pitching staff. Colletti and manager Joe Torre said Park would have made the club if it had kept 12 pitchers and that he would accept a Triple-A assignment so he's ready when the club needs a 12th pitcher, probably by mid-April.
They said Park accepted the assignment, however, he left Dodger Stadium during Sunday's game and made no comment.
The club submitted a roster that had six outfielders (now five without Repko) and six infielders, including Abreu. Technically, still in limbo are DeWitt and fellow non-roster utility infielder Angel Chavez, who beat out Martinez and could wind up as the seventh infielder if no acquisition is made.
Colletti said the 20-year-old Kershaw, who had as impressive a spring as any Dodger, would start the season at Double-A Jacksonville.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.