The Dodgers wrapped up their Cactus League play Wednesday as they packed up and headed home to Southern California. They left Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona with some questions answered while a slew of questions still remained with mere hours until Opening Day arrives.
Tomorrow the Dodgers will play an interesting split squad game with half the team playing in Rancho Cucamonga while the other half opens the Freeway Series in Anaheim. At 6:05 p.m. Stephen Fife will pitch for the Dodgers against Chris Reed who will be representing the Quakes at The Epicenter. Over in Anaheim, the 7:05 p.m. game will feature Ryu Hyun-Jin against former Dodger Joe Blanton.
After both games conclude we can expect some roster cuts to be made. The Dodgers still have some decisions to be made, and time is running out. They will have to decide what to do with their eight starting pitchers and which hurlers will be part of the Opening Day bullpen. They will also have to shore up the bench and decide between Elian Herrera, Alex Castellanos, and Afredo Amezaga.
Yasiel Puig will be playing in the Rancho Cucamonga game, and he will be available for Friday’s Freeway Series game at Dodger Stadium as well as Saturday’s Anaheim game. Dodger fans will have one more opportunity to watch the promising prospect play before he heads out to Chattanooga to play as a Lookout. He may even hit his first homerun at Dodger Stadium!
The Rancho Cucamonga squad will be managed by Tommy Lasorda for Thursday’s game. Stephen Fife will get the nod, and he will be joined by Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Luis Cruz, and Jerry Hairston Jr. The rest of the Major Leaguers will be with Don Mattingly in Anaheim as Ryu Hyun-Jin makes his first start in Southern California in preparation for his Dodger debut on April 2nd.
Although the dueling Dodger games will be fun tomorrow, the reality of Opening Day and the looming cuts will be weighing on everyone’s minds. The biggest decisions yet to be made are first: who will clinch the last bench spot? We now know it won’t be Yasiel Puig (insert big sigh here) or Dee Gordon since they were both sent to the minors to begin the season. That leaves Alex Castellanos, Elian Herrera, or Alfredo Amezaga. Amezaga and Herrera are both very versatile and can play numerous positions. Alex Castellanos has showed some power this Spring with 4 homeruns and 11 RBI. Amezaga isn’t on the 40-man roster, so he most likely will not be added. Castellanos should get the call, but Herrera is still in the running.
The second decision will be: who will end up in the Dodger bullpen? Mattingly has said that he feels Ted Lilly is not ready right now since he missed some time with the flu and such. The Dodgers will probably send him to the minors, but Lilly has said he wants to pitch for the Dodgers even if it’s in relief. It’s still possible that the Dodgers will trade either Chris Capuano or Aaron Harang, although Harang was doing his darnedest in his last start not to impress the on looking scouts. The Dodgers seem most intrigued with non-roster pitcher Kevin Gregg. Even though a better choice would be Paco Rodriguez in my opinion. It is almost certain that Gregg and Matt Guerrier will be blowing leads out of middle relief for the Dodgers this season.
Lastly, what on Earth are the Dodgers going to do about all of these extra starting pitchers? If Lilly accepts a stint in the minors, and either Cappy or Harang get traded this weekend, then the other shall be stowed in the pen. Let’s hope Harang is the one shipped out.
Are you excited for the Dodgers homecoming this weekend? Are you attending any of the Freeway Series games or the Rancho Cucamonga game? Tell us all about it in the comments!