No major surprises as Dodgers cut to 25-man roster, elect to go with three catchers
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There were no real surprises when the Dodgers announced their 25-man roster to open the season after Wednesday’s game.
Of course, as the five Dodgers who will start the season on the disabled list start to trickle back in early April, more bodies will get shuffled.
For now, three nonroster invitees ended up making the team -- relievers Mike MacDougal and Lance Cormier, and infielder Aaron Miles.
The bullpen, infield and outfield pretty much fell into to place as expected. The only mild surprise was the decision to go with three catchers.
A.J. Ellis and Hector Gimenez both made the opening-day roster, meaning veteran outfielder Gabe Kapler was released. Manager Don Mattingly said General Manager Ned Colletti still planned to meet with Kapler, 35, to see if there is a mutual interest in his playing at triple-A Albuquerque.
Gimenez mostly made the team because the Dodgers liked his bat, but he can also play first and dabbled some this spring in the outfield.
“We’ve been trying to build with pitching and defense,” Mattingly said. “Ellis knows our staff, knows our guys. Hector did a good job too, he just doesn’t know the staff as well.”
The five who will open the season on the disabled list are third baseman Casey Blake, catcher Dioner Navarro, outfielder Jay Gibbons, right-hander Jon Garland and reliever Vicente Padilla. All are expected to be back next month. Blake (back) and Gibbons (vision) could all return by Wednesday if they improve as hoped.
Gibbons saw another specialist Tuesday, and this time he was fitted with contacts in both eyes and not just the one he had an offseason procedure on.
The Dodgers roster for Thursday’s opener against the Giants:
Infield: James Loney, Jamey Carroll, Ivan De Jesus Jr., Rafael Furcal, Juan Uribe and Miles.
Outfield: Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Tony Gwynn Jr., Xavier Paul and Marcus Thames.
Catcher: Rod Barajas, Ellis and Gimenez.
Starters: Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda.
Relievers: Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, Matt Guerrier, Kenly Jansen, Blake Hawksworth, MacDougal and Cormier.
Left-hander Scott Elbert and outfielder Trent Oeltjen were sent down. The Dodgers had to move first baseman John Lindsey and reliever Jon Link off the 40-man roster to add Miles, Cormier and MacDougal. They were down one spot because Ronald Belisario is on the restricted list.
Mattingly said while Gibbons is out, Paul will get his share of playing time.
“XPaul is gong to get his at-bats,” Mattingly said. “History tells me he can hit.”
Paul hit .231 in 121 at-bats with the Dodgers last season.
-- Steve Dilbeck