The Dodgers have been making some cuts, but the most difficult decisions are yet to come. The final 25-man Opening Day roster may not be completely hashed out until the very last Spring series which is the Freeway Series versus the Angels. One of the decisions will be which of the remaining outfielders will stay in order to fill the necessary fourth outfielder spot. With Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp both transitioning back after major surgery, this fourth outfielder will play a very important role on the team. The Dodgers have already said that Yasiel Puig will start in the minors, so that leaves Elian Herrera or Alex Castellanos as the two likely candidates. Tony Gwynn Jr. and Jeremy Moore have both been reassigned to Minor League camp.
Alex Castellanos has played in 18 games for the Dodgers so far this Spring. He is only hitting .205, but he has had a surprising punch of power with three homeruns in his 34 at-bats. He has struck out 10 times and walked 4 times.
The 26-year old right-hand hitting outfielder was acquired by the Dodgers from St. Louis with cash in exchange for Rafael Furcal at the 2011 trade deadline. He made his MLB debut with the Dodgers on May 31, 2012. He had 25 plate appearances with the Dodgers last year while batting .174 with a homerun. He played left and right field for the Dodgers in 2012, and he has seen some action in center field this Spring.
“He could give us that right-handed bat against a left-handed pitcher, and he’s on the roster, which is nice,” said Don Mattingly.
Last season with the AAA-Albuquerque Isotopes, the Dodgers began toying with the idea of converting Castellanos to second base. He played 50 games at second base and 34 games at third with the Isotopes. Castellanos hit .328/.420/.590 with 17 homeruns, 52 RBI, and 16 stolen bases over 94 games.
Castellanos may begin the season back in Albuquerque since Elian Herrera may get the nod. Herrera is hitting .351 in 19 games this Spring, and the switch-hitter can not only play all three outfield positions but also the infield. Castellanos has shown more power than Herrera, and I’m sure that if Alex isn’t with the Dodgers on Opening Day he’ll get a call-up sometime during the season.