There should be no shortage of trade options, including
With the season opener at Seattle less than a week away,
"We felt pretty confident with this group of second basemen that one was going to click by the time we start the season," Dipoto said. "We're giving them that opportunity. If we need to address it as the season progresses, we will."
Giavotella has separated himself by hitting .349 (15 for 43) with four doubles, two triples and a homer in 21 games, but he's not as polished defensively as Rutledge, who is clearly pressing at the plate, with a .170 average and 14 strikeouts in 19 games.
It appears Green is being groomed for more of a utility role — he's played more innings in left field (24) this spring than he has at second (19), shortstop (14) and third base (nine), and he's played six innings at first.
None of the four second-base candidates is expected to be as productive or consistent as Howie Kendrick, a career .293 hitter who was traded to the Dodgers for 23-year-old left-hander
"You don't want to let someone struggle to the point where they're losing confidence, but you have to give them enough room and hope to find out what they're capable of," Dipoto said. "If you send them out there and stick a blindfold on them and put them up against a wall, it doesn't stand to benefit anyone.
"We can't say, 'Hey, in two weeks, in four weeks, if this isn't going well, we'll pull the plug.' That's more of a feel thing. We'll start the season with this group, and if we need to act, we will."
The right stuff
Jose Alvarez won't light up radar guns or buckle the knees of opposing hitters. The 5-feet-11, 180-pound left-hander's fastball ranges from 89 to 92 mph, and he mixes it with a changeup and slider.
But the 25-year-old Venezuelan has a feel for pitching that is best measured in results, and he appears to have earned a long-relief role in a season-opening eight-man bullpen with a 2.84 earned-run average in 6 1/3 innings this spring.
"We're definitely impressed with his stuff," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "His velocity is better, his slider is tighter. He looks much better than he did last year. He has enough to start, but his stuff definitely plays in a bullpen, both as a lefty specialist and a guy who can give you some length."
Alvarez, acquired from Detroit for infielder
But he re-established himself in the Venezuelan winter league, going 6-1 with a 1.91 ERA in 19 games, seven of them starts, striking out 30 and walking 17 in 56 2/3 innings.
"The location of all my pitches was good, and I was pretty successful against left-handers," Alvarez said. "It was a big thing for me to pitch in Venezuela, to show that I'm healthy."