04/01/12 8:40 PM ET
Trio of infielders vying for final roster spot
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Sellers is in a 2-for-14 spell, his average dropping from .385 to .300. Fields is 1-for-16 lately (with seven strikeouts), his average falling from .379 to .261. Cruz is 3-for-15 in recent games, dropping his average from .350 to .286.
Fields, who slugged 23 home runs for the White Sox in his rookie season of 2007, seems best suited to give manager Don Mattingly the right-handed power bat he thought he had in Jerry Sands, who played himself back to Triple-A. Mattingly would use Fields at first base against left-handed starters instead of James Loney.
"Lately, he's not hitting solid drives to right-center," Mattingly said of Fields. "The other day he hit one to right-center and the guy made a good play. It's not about going deep, but you want to see solid at-bats, put the ball in play. Hit the ball with authority on a consistent basis."
Sellers doesn't provide an alternative to Loney against lefties, but he would provide the Dodgers with a true shortstop to back up Dee Gordon. Otherwise, it's either Juan Uribe or Jerry Hairston.
Cruz is a compromise who can play the infield and has seen action lately in left field, but that makes him a less accomplished version of Hairston, who can play infield and outfield. Cruz actually has the highest slugging percentage of the three, .457 to Sellers' .450 and Fields' .348.
Billingsley unhappy with command of cutter
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After a shaky final outing of an inconsistent Spring Training, Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley said he just might scrap his cutter.
Otherwise pleased with his pitch repertoire, especially progress with his changeup, Billingsley said the cutter that had become a pitch he used regularly has abandoned him when he tries to locate it away to right-handers.
"I can attack with my fastball, the curve is my out pitch and the changeup I can throw in any count and have a lot of confidence in that right now," Billingsley said. "I don't know if I'll throw the cutter -- the left side it just spins all the time."
On a windy day, Billingsley needed 70 pitches to get through three innings, allowing four runs on six hits. Two hits were home runs -- a line drive nailed by Ryan Budde and a windblown fly ball that barely made it by Chris Young.
For the spring, Billingsley has a 5.91 ERA and he's allowed 33 hits in 21 1/3 innings.
Manager Don Mattingly deflected questioning about Billingsley's numbers, saying nobody remembers Spring Training stats. He said he's often seen players with poor exhibition stats go out and have big regular seasons.
"The season will tell us what's going on," Mattingly said. "If he keeps us in the game, guys think, 'Today we've got a chance.' If he's inconsistent, guys don't know what they're going to get. I've talked about it with Chad, the consistency. The stuff is there. If he's happy with his mechanics and most of his pitches and he's healthy, that's a good sign."
Eovaldi wins Mulvey Award for top rookie
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi was named winner of the 2012 Jim and Dearie Mulvey Award as the top Dodgers rookie in Spring Training, in balloting by the coaches.
Like most winners of the award, Eovaldi will receive a plaque and a ticket back to the Minor Leagues, despite compiling a 1.72 ERA in five games and limiting opposing hitters to a .233 batting average.
Before he returns to the Minors, however, Eovaldi will make one more start in the exhibition season finale Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium against the Angels.
The award is named after the couple that was part owner of the Dodgers from 1938 to 1975.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.