Opening Day is one week away. Today more cuts fell upon non-roster invitees Corey Sullivan and Josh Bard. It was a bit sad to see Sullivan go, since he had been working hard to make a comeback after leaving baseball in order to spend time with his young daughter. We wish him the best of luck, and hopefully he can land a gig with another Major League team.
The final bench spot is still up for grabs, but the competition has been slowly narrowed. Jerry Sands is no longer in the picture after being assigned to minor league camp. He will start the season in AAA for the Isotopes where he hopefully can iron out his swing. We expect to see him on the team sometime this year unless he still has issues down in Albuquerque.
Justin Sellers still has options, so many think he will not make the team and also start the season down in Triple-A. Sellers was out for a few games with some sort of rash. He has played in 17 games this Spring, and is hitting .333 in 33 at bats. He has 11 hits, including 2 doubles and a homerun. His infield versatility is what could land him on the squad since we could use some coverage at shortstop if Dee Gordon is not healthy the entire season. We have already seen glimpses of Jerry Hairston Jr. and Adam Kennedy‘s rustiness, so I can’t see either of them being an everyday player.
Luis Cruz, non-roster player, is also in the mix as a candidate for the final bench slot. Cruz has played in 18 games during this Spring Training, and he is hitting .259 in 27 at bats. He has 7 hits including a triple and a homerun. In AAA he played in 34 games at shortstop and some at second, third, and left field. He also had some playing time in the Mexican League as well.
Josh Fields, a non-roster player, looks to be the frontrunner for this last coveted spot on the 25-man roster. Fields has appeared in 22 games this Spring, and he is hitting an even .300 in 40 at bats. He’s had 12 hits, including 2 doubles and a triple. He’s stuck out 9 times and walked thrice. Fields primarily plays third base, but he is also somewhat versatile in the infield, and he can even play in the outfield. The Dodgers had him start in left field during today’s game versus his former club. In 2007 when he played for the White Sox, Fields had a career high 23 homeruns and 67 RBI in 100 games. He never really got back to that though, and he hasn’t played in the Majors since 2010 when he played in just 13 games for the Kansas City Royals. Fields signed with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan on June 28, 2011. In 40 games in Japan he hit only .202.
The Dodgers always like to retain control over as many players as possible. I can see them most likely keeping Sellers down in Triple-A for now and signing Josh Fields for the bench to start the season. My pick has been Justin Sellers. I like him defensively, and contrary to what some may say I think his offense is perfectly acceptable. Our bench is not going to be pretty whether Sellers, Cruz, or Fields is a part of it. Hopefully Jerry Sands can sort things out sooner rather than later.
Don Mattingly sounds unsure to who he wants just yet. They may wait until next week during or after the Freeway Series with the Angels before a final decision is made.