Dodgers Invite 15 to Developmental Minicamp

The Dodgers again have announced farmhands who might soon make a Major League impact by inviting them to an annual developmental minicamp, to be held at Dodger Stadium the second week of January. Ken Gurnick of MLB.com made the announcement.

The invitation list:

Pitchers (8): Steven Ames, Michael Antonini, Rubby De La Rosa, Stephen Fife, Shawn Tolleson, Josh Wall, Allen Webster and Chris Withrow.

Position players (7): Alex Castellanos, Griff Erickson, Tim Federowicz, Tyler Henson, Alfredo Silverio, Scott Van Slyke and Matt Wallach.

The group includes last year's organizational Pitcher of the Year (Tolleson) and Player of the Year (Van Slyke), as well as three midseason acquisitions via trade -- Fife, Castellanos and Federowicz. Henson was acquired from Baltimore for Dana Eveland during the Winter Meetings. De La Rosa (recovering from Tommy John surgery), Erickson, Wallach and Withrow attended the 2011 minicamp.

Six of last season's invitees appeared in the Major Leagues for the Dodgers during the season -- De La Rosa, Javy Guerra, Nathan Eovaldi, Justin Sellers, Dee Gordon and Jerry Sands. This will be the fifth year of the developmental minicamp, which is designed to take the best and brightest of the farm system, accelerate their Major League arrival and aid acclimation to what they will encounter when they get there.

Among earlier participants are Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen. Assistant general manager De Jon Watson's minicamp also allows club officials to get a line on each player's conditioning prior to Spring Training and to tweak flaws in a pitcher's delivery or a hitter's swing before the start of the real camp, where the player is focused on making the club.

They receive coaching on baseball skills, but also are instructed in aspects of Major League Baseball that should be essential but often are overlooked, from media relations to security issues to interaction with fans and the importance of community outreach.

In addition to a daily workout at the stadium, the players will meet with former Dodgers and attend functions in the community.

Ronald Belisario suspended for 25 games
Tony Jackson of ESPNLA.com writes that reliever Ronald Belisario has received a visa valid for the next five years and is expected to be in Arizona for the start of spring training, but he won't be on the Dodgers' opening-day roster.

Belisario must serve a 25-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke under the condition of anonymity.

The person did not say exactly how Belisario violated the policy. But according to the policy, a player can draw a 25-game suspension for only a few reasons:

1. A player is involved or suspected of being involved in with a drug of abuse, ordered to take part in a treatment program, and fails to comply.

2. A player tests positive for a stimulant.

3. A player is convicted or pleads guilty to using or possessing a prohibited substance that is considered a drug of abuse.

Belisario, who missed all of last season because of visa problems, left the Dodgers for more than a month during the 2010 season to receive treatment in a substance-abuse program. In 2009, the hard-throwing Venezuelan was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. He pleaded to a lesser charge.

Colletti Restructures Dodgers' Front Office
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti announced on a restructuring of his inner circle, with Vance Lovelace and Rick Ragazzo emerging with new titles and greater influence in Major League player evaluation.

Lovelace, previously a special assistant to the GM and director of player scouting, is now director of professional personnel. Ragazzo, previously a special assistant to the GM, is now director of pro scouting. Alex Tamin, a lawyer hired after the season, has quickly assumed a significant role in player analysis and arbitration preparation as director of contracts, research and operations.

Colletti said the front office is more "streamlined" with this reallocation of responsibilities following the spring departure of former assistant GM Kim Ng, who now works for former manager Joe Torre in the Commissioner's Office.

Logan White remains assistant GM in charge for amateur (Draft) and international scouting and DeJon Watson remains assistant GM for player development (Minor Leagues). Tony Howell and Ken Bracey remain as special assistants to Colletti.

"Vance and Rick have really grown into their roles as player evaluators," Colletti said. "Vance is a very good judge of talent and an even better judge of people. He's become very important to the organization and he will spend more time in L.A. with the big league team. These changes have allowed for a more streamlined decision-making process."

Lovelace, who had a 13-year career as a pitcher, joined the Dodgers in 2001 as a scout. He originally came to the Dodgers from the Cubs in the 1983 Ron Cey trade (at the time, Colletti worked for the Cubs). Ragazzo joined the Dodgers four years ago after 17 seasons in baseball operations and scouting for San Francisco, where he worked with Colletti.

Former players Bill Mueller, Aaron Sele, Mark Sweeney, Jose Vizcaino and Juan Castro remain as special assistants to baseball operations.

Dodger Blue Notes
The Rockies signed free agent 3B Casey Blake to a one-year, $2 million contract. ...The Indians signed 3B Andy LaRoche to a minor league contract, with an invitation to spring training. ...The Nationals signed OF Xavvier Paul to minor league contract. ...The Cardinals signed utilityman Eugenio Velez to a minor league contract. ...The Brewers signed INF Cesar Izturis to a minor league contract, with an invitation to spring training. ...Tom Byers was names short season hitting coach by the Chicago Cubs. ...Purchased the contract of INF CJ Retheford from Fargo-Moorehead in the Independent American Association.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories