Dodgers’ final roster winners: Justin Sellers and Josh Lindblom
The Dodgers have made their final roster decisions, at least until the next time, informing infielder Justin Sellers and reliever Josh Lindblom they will be on the team to start the season.
That leaves the Dodgers with a light-hitting, infield-heavy bench. Enough so that Manager Don Mattingly said it will mean Jerry Hairston Jr. will now be viewed more as an outfielder.
Sellers beat out Josh Fields, who faded badly, and infielder Luis Cruz. Sellers can play second, third and short.
“He’s the kind of guy I like,” Mattingly said, “because he’s not afraid of anything.”
Sellers got off to an impressive start when called up last season, but then struggled at the plate. He finished the season hitting .203.
“The biggest thing for Justin is to learn what he is as a hitter,” Mattingly said. “He has a little bit of pop ... but you can’t be leading the team in fly-ball percentage when you weigh 170.”
Some thought Scott Rice might earn the final spot in the bullpen, largely because he is left-handed and the Dodgers have only one left-handed reliever, Scott Elbert.
“We felt like Josh pitched as well as anyone in camp,” Mattingly said. “He kind of won that spot.
“Rice pitched well all spring too. That was not an easy decision. It was kind of back and forth.”
It could be a short-lived assignment. Ted Lilly is scheduled to come off the disabled list and start on April 14, so if all are healthy, a reliever will have to be sent down then to make roster room.
Fields, Cruz and Rice will be reassigned Wednesday. They can still play in the final preseason game against the Angels.
Also catcher A.J. Ellis, who left Tuesday’s game in the fifth inning after being hit on the left tricep by an Ervin Santana pitch, suffered a bruise and is expected to be ready by Thursday’s season opener in San Diego.
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