McDonald named Dodgers' fifth starter
Weaver among six players assigned to Triple-A Albuquerque
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers trimmed their roster from 36 to 30 on Saturday night and manager Joe Torre named James McDonald the team's fifth starter.The Dodgers sent shortstop Chin-lung Hu, pitcher Eric Stults, catcher A.J. Ellis and outfielders Jason Repko and Xavier Paul to Triple-A Albuquerque. And in a surprise move, they assigned non-roster invitee Jeff Weaver to Triple-A and retained left-hander Will Ohman, who was expected to receive work in the Minors before being called up. The Dodgers have until noon PT on Sunday to announce their official 25-man roster. Weaver, who had a 7.20 ERA in 10 spring innings, was considered a favorite to win a role as a long reliever but will instead get work in the Minor Leagues. "We've asked him to extend a little bit," Torre said. "We want him to become a long man or a spot starter. He was obviously disappointed. He was worthy of making this club, but again, we're on the limited side in terms of 40-man spots." The Dodgers have five more cuts to make as Doug Mientkiewicz, Blake DeWitt and Juan Castro are battling for two infield spots after Hu was cut. Mientkiewicz, who was a non-roster invitee, appears likely to make the team despite battling flu-like symptoms the past few days. Hu went 0-for-3 on Saturday to lower his batting average to .250 and made an error at shortstop but wasn't deterred after finding out about his demotion to the Minors after the game. "I just want to try really hard every day," Hu said. "I'd like to get back, and so I'll keep working hard." Ramon Troncoso, Josh Lindblom, Tanyon Sturtze, Ronald Belisario, Brian Mazone and Erick Threets are competing for two relief roles. Jonathan Broxton, Guillermo Mota, Cory Wade and Hong-Chih Kuo are locks to make the roster. Troncoso and Belisario are considered favorites to win the two spots, but Mazone had the lowest ERA in camp with a 1.13 mark and Lindblom wasn't far behind with a 2.00 ERA. Sturtze and Threets likely will begin in the Minors after struggling in exhibition games over the weekend. Outfielder Delwyn Young and pitchers Jason Schmidt and Claudio Vargas are expected to begin the season on the disabled list. The starting rotation is now set with Hiroki Kuroda being followed by left-hander Randy Wolf, right-hander Chad Billingsley, left-hander Clayton Kershaw and McDonald. McDonald, who is 2-2 with a 5.03 ERA in eight Spring Training appearances, will start on Sunday against the Giants in the Dodgers' last exhibition game. "It's safe to say that McDonald will pitch on Friday," Torre said. McDonald beat out Stults, who tossed four innings against the Brewers on Saturday, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits. The Dodgers travel to San Francisco to play the Giants on Sunday, but regulars Manny Ramirez, Rafael Furcal, Orlando Hudson and Russell Martin will stay back and rest. They join James Loney, Casey Blake, Mark Loretta, Matt Kemp, Juan Pierre and Andre Ethier as position players guaranteed to make the Major League roster.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.