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Joc Pederson likely to be one of three rookies on Dodgers' roster

Joc Pederson, who started all three Freeway Series gamed, likely to be one of three rookies on Dodgers roster

Joc Pederson started in center field for the Dodgers in all three games of the Freeway Series, the latest sign the team plans for him to play there on opening day.

Manager Don Mattingly all but confirmed Saturday afternoon that Pederson would be the opening-day center fielder on Monday, saying before the Dodgers and Angels played to a 6-6 tie at Dodger Stadium, "You can pretty much read between the lines and see what we're doing."

Pederson will be one of three rookies on the Dodgers' opening-day roster, along with right-handers Yimi Garcia and Pedro Baez.

The Dodgers won't officially announce their 25-man roster until Sunday, but the composition of their team became evident after a series of roster moves Saturday night.

In addition to Garcia and Baez, the bullpen will consist of J.P. Howell, Joel Peralta, Chris Hatcher, Paco Rodriguez and Juan Nicasio. The bench will be made up of A.J. Ellis, Andre Ethier, Justin Turner, Scott Van Slyke, Alex Guerrero and Darwin Barney.

The other places on the team will be occupied by the four starting pitchers — Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson — and the eight projected starting position players — Yasmani Grandal, Adrian Gonzalez, Howe Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins, Juan Uribe, Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford and Pederson.

With Rodriguez making the team, Howell won't be the only left-hander in the bullpen, as was the case for most of last season. Howell, who shouldered a heavy workload early in the season, clearly wasn't himself by the time the Dodgers fell to the St. Louis Cardinals in a National League division series.

Rodriguez was one of two left-handers who didn't give up a run in spring training. The other, Adam Liberatore, was optioned to triple-A Oklahoma City. Nonroster relievers Sergio Santos, David Aardsma and David Huff were assigned to Oklahoma City.

The moves allow the Dodgers to maintain flexibility. If Santos, Aardsma or Huff were to be added to the 40-man roster, the Dodgers couldn't send them back to the minors without the risk of losing them. There is no such danger with Rodriguez, Garcia or Baez, who still have minor league options.

Huff, a left-hander, could return soon as the team's fifth starter. With Hyun-Jin Ryu opening the season on the disabled list, the Dodgers will need someone to start in his place on April 13 or 14.

Huff figures to be the leading candidate, if only because he isn't on the 40-man roster. Joe Wieland and Mike Bolsinger, who are on the 40-man roster and were optioned to the minors, can't be recalled until the 11th day of the season.

If there's a benefit to Ryu's injury, it's that it will allow the Dodgers to carry an extra position player on their bench. That will be Barney, a former Gold Glove-winning second baseman who can spell the 36-year-old Rollins at shortstop. Barney beat out fellow utility man Enrique Hernandez, who hit six home runs in the exhibition season and can play multiple positions in the infield and outfield.

Guerrero was expected to make the team and not only because he went into Saturday night batting .313. The Cuban utility man had the contractual right to refuse a minor league assignment, meaning he could have become a free agent if the Dodgers didn't include him on their roster.

Ryu will be joined on the disabled list by closer Kenley Jansen, setup man Brandon League and right-hander Brandon Beachy.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

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