The way it looks to me

With about a third of the spring exhibition season in the books, the Dodgers still have no idea of who is going to play left field or second base. Barring a trade for a first basemen, Shawn Green, who may prefer to play right field, is the team's best bet to play first base. Why... because he looks to be as good as Paul LoDuca, Robin Ventura, Jeremy Giambi or Olmedo Saenz there. School is still out on Luis Garcia.

Therefore it seems that it is time to weed out those who haven't a prayer of making the opening day 25 man roster. There are lot of players who should either be released or sent to the minor league camp to get into the hunt for places at either Las Vegas or Jacksonville.

I would start with their two big position player prospects, James Loney and Franklin Gutierrez. Each has now had a taste of playing with the big team, especially Gutierrez who has only two hits in eighteen at bats. He's been over matched in many of his plate appearances against minor league pitchers. Loney has looked much better at the plate going seven for twelve, but again facing lesser than big name pitchers.

Barring a trade the starting pitchers will come from Hideo Nomo, Odalis Perez, Jeff Weaver, Kaz Ishii, Edwin Jackson and Wilson Alvarez. Jose Lima is making a real run at a job with the team as a possible starter.

The following have no chance at all, Doug Nickel and Andrew Brown. Joel Hanrahan has not pitched at all. And the following prospective relievers have not shown enough to have much hope of cracking the bullpen, Agustin Montero, Bill Simas, Tanyon Sturtze, Rick White and Orlando Rodriguez. They all should move to the minor league camp.

Those who have looked like possibilities and should get more chances include Yhency Brazoban, Jason Frasor, Duaner Sanchez and Masao Kida. With Eric Gagne, Guillermo Mota, Paul Shuey, Tom Martin, Steve Colyer and Darren Dreifort, one of those relievers will have to beat one of the latter six out. And it's time to concentrate on which of them might be the best bet.

For second base Alex Cora is still the likely starter. Joe Thurston is getting a good and fair shot at the job, but has to do better than 4-for-21 at the plate. He's made the plays at second base defensively but did have two rough spots on double plays. Jolbert Cabrera is no Cora in the field but is a much better hitter. Jose Hernandez has not done all that well. He's played both shortstop and second and could handle the job if necessary, but his hitting has not been that strong, 5-for-19, and he hasn't shown any power as yet.

Infielders Ricky Bell at third and second bases and Eric Riggs at short stop are heading no where except to possibly Las Vegas and to fill-in in split squad games. Olmedo Saenz and Robin Ventura should get more time at third base and hitting as possible pinch batters.

With Dave Roberts in CF and Juan Encarnacion in right doing just fine, it's time to concentrate on left field and a back up for center field. Bubba Trammel has not set the world on fire because of a sore back. He is 4-for-14 (.286) with one home run and a couple of rough fielding plays. John Barnes is getting some time to show what he can do. He is 2 for 10, but has only a slim chance. He's a right handed hitter. Jeremy Giambi is getting practically no time in the outfield or at bat. He has only been up to bat 6 times without a hit. Garcia is 3-for-6 but remains a very long shot for left field, but he also can play first base and does bat right handed. Right now C.F. Chen is the big question. He just got in his first game and went 1-for-2. He too hits right handed and does have some power and speed. As for center field, the possible backups to Roberts would be Jason Romano, Shane Victorino or Wilkin Ruan. Romano is 5-for-16 with three home runs, Victorino 2-for-7 and Ruan 1-for-12. All three should be given a lot of playing time over the next weeks.

Lo Duca and Ross are set behind the plate. Koyie Hill is getting playing time and is 3-for-9 and even Edwin Bellorin is getting a look-see. Last year the Dodgers carried three catchers, but it's not known if they will again this season. Ryan Kellner is around also.

By now GM Paul DePodesta has had a good look at his team. He supposedly has told the Chicago White Sox the Dodgers have no interest in either Frank Thomas or Paul Konerko to play first base, thus it would seem his quest will be for an outfielder who can produce or possibly for a good hitting second basemen who also fields well.

It's almost time to fish or cut bait, but in my view it is also time to do more weeding out.