Dodgers Invite 18 to Spring Training

The Dodgers signed veteran right-handed pitcher Scott Erickson to a minor league contract and invited him to Spring Training. Erickson will join 16 others as non-roster invitees when the club reports to Vero Beach, FL on Feb. 18.

Erickson, 36, has a 141-132 mark in 13 Major League seasons with Minnesota, Baltimore, Texas and the New York Mets. A member of the 1991 World Champion Twins, he finished second in American League Cy Young Award voting that season when he went 20-8 with a 3.18 ERA. Last season with New York and Texas, Erickson made six starts and posted a 1-4 record.

He joins right-handers Buddy Carlyle, Aquilino Lopez and Ryan Rupe and southpaws Mike Venafro and Kelly Wunsch as non-roster invitees. Also earning invitations to camp with the Dodgers are catcher Mike Rose, infielders Norihiro Nakamura, Mike Edwards, Jose Flores, James Loney, Oscar Robles, Tony Schrager and Joe Thurston and outfielders Chin-Feng Chen, Tydus Meadows, Henri Stanley and Jon Weber.

Nakamura, 31, appeared in 105 games with the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes last season and batted .274 with 19 homers and 66 RBI. In 13 seasons in the Japanese Pacific League, he has a .263 career batting average with 307 home runs and 916 runs batted in. An eight-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove Award winner, Nakamura has distinguished himself as one of the top players in Japan over the last decade. In 2002, he led the Pacific League with 42 home runs, the second time he has topped the league in that category. He has also led the league in runs batted in twice (2000 and 2001).

Carlyle, 27, reached the Major Leagues with the Padres as a 21-year old in 1999 and appeared in 11 games with San Diego in 1999-2000, posting a 1-3 record in 11 games. In 157 career minor league games, including 135 starts, he has posted a 64-38 record and 3.73 ERA in the Reds, Padres, Royals and Yankees organizations. Last season, he went a combined 12-5 with a 3.19 ERA for Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Columbus in the Yankees' farm system.

Lopez, 29, has appeared in the Major Leagues during the last two seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and set a franchise rookie record by appearing in 72 games in 2003 while earning 14 saves. He made 18 appearances for the Blue Jays in 2004 and went 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA, while also spending time at Toronto's Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse.

Rupe, 29, has compiled a 24-38 record and 5.85 ERA in 89 games in the Major Leagues with Tampa Bay and Boston. Last season, he played in the Japanese League for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, posting a 1-4 record and 6.67 ERA in six starts.

Venafro, 31, has pitched in 300 career Major League games, posting a 4.11 ERA and a 14-10 record in 249.2 innings with Texas, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Los Angeles. He has held left-handers to a .239 average in his career and appeared in 17 games for the Dodgers down the stretch in 2004 before making two appearances during the National League Division Series against St. Louis.

Wunsch, 32, has limited left-handers to a .183 average over his five Major League seasons with the Chicago White Sox, including a .127 (8-for-63) mark in 2003. He led the American League with 83 appearances as a rookie in 2000 and spent most of the 2004 season at Triple-A Charlotte in the White Sox organization. He made three relief appearances with Chicago, allowing two hits in 2.0 innings and did not give up a run.

Rose, 28, saw action in the Major Leagues for the first time in his career in 2004, appearing in two games with the Oakland A's. He had previously spent 10 seasons in the minor leagues with the Astros, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Royals and Athletics organizations. In 854 career minor league games, he has a .267 average with 63 homers and 341 RBI.

Edwards, 28, has a lifetime .293 batting average in the minor leagues with the Cleveland, Cincinnati and Oakland organizations. He has spent the past two seasons at Triple-A Sacramento in the A's organization, reaching the Major Leagues in 2003 when he appeared in four games for the Athletics. Edwards began his career as a shortstop in the Indians' organization before shifting to third base after his first professional season. He has split time in the outfield, first base and third base since 2002.

Flores, 31, has appeared in 16 Major League games with the Dodgers and Athletics while compiling a .275 career minor league average with 28 homers, 375 RBI and 158 stolen bases. He was acquired by the Dodgers from the Oakland Athletics for cash considerations on March 11, 2004 and batted .313 with seven homers and 51 RBI in 99 games for Triple-A Las Vegas. Flores went 1-for-4 for the Dodgers, including his first Major League hit, a single off San Francisco's Jason Schmidt.

Loney, 20, was the Dodgers' first-round selection in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft and has a three-year minor league batting average of .278 with 78 doubles, 16 home runs and 116 RBI in 293 games. He was tabbed as the fourth-best prospect in the Arizona Fall League last year by Baseball America and made the All-Prospect Team, as voted on by league managers and coaches. In 2004, he was invited to Spring Training with the big league club for the second consecutive year and played in 20 Grapefruit League contests, batting .343 with a homer and seven RBI, earning the Jim and Dearie Mulvey Award as the Dodgers' top rookie in camp.

Robles, 28, has spent the past five seasons playing in the Mexican Summer League for Oaxaca (2000-01) and Mexico City (2000, 2003-04), primarily playing second base and third base. In 10 seasons of professional baseball in Mexico and with the Houston and Oakland organizations, he has a lifetime .308 average with 34 homers, 401 runs batted in and a .412 on-base percentage. Last season, he played for Mexico City and batted .382 (128-for-335) with 23 doubles, eight homers and 64 RBI in 97 games.

Schrager, 27, reached Triple-A Pawtucket in 2004 for the first time in his seven-year minor league career. He has played primarily played second base in his career, but has also seen action at shortstop and third base, compiling a .256 average with 80 homers, 366 RBI, a .426 slugging percentage and a .371 on-base percentage in 789 career minor league games in the Cubs' and Red Sox organizations.

Thurston, 25, appeared in the Major Leagues with the Dodgers for the third consecutive season in 2004 and in 714 career minor league games, has posted a .296 average with 34 homers and 294 RBI. He led all Dodger minor leaguers in hits in 2000, 2002 and 2003 and has posted a batting average of .280 or higher in five of his six minor league seasons. In 36 career big league games, he is batting .289 (11-for-38) with two RBI.

Chen, 27, has been an offensive force throughout his six minor league seasons, batting .289 with 155 doubles, 131 home runs and 516 RBI in 743 games. The 131 homers rank third on the Dodgers' all-time minor league home run list, three behind Don Demeter for second place. Last season, he had three stints with the Major League club and has appeared in 12 Major League games since becoming the first Taiwanese player to reach the Major Leagues in 2002.

Meadows, 27, has averaged 17 homers and 74 RBI over the past three seasons in the minor leagues and has posted a .295 career average in 727 career minor league games in the Cubs, Royals and Rangers farm systems. Last season, he slugged a career-high 18 homers and batted .285 for Double-A Frisco in the Texas organization.

Stanley, 27, was acquired from Boston for outfielder Dave Roberts on July 31, 2004 and has a five-year minor-league batting average of .293 with 53 homers and 257 RBI. Among his 551 career minor league hits, 219 have gone for extra bases, including 127 doubles and 39 triples. Last season, he played at the Triple-A level for three different organizations (San Diego, Boston, Los Angeles), batting a combined .280 with 31 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 41 RBI and 54 runs scored in 105 games.

Weber, 27, is a left-handed hitting outfielder with a .273 average in six years in the minor leagues. He spent most of the 2004 season at Double-A Midland in the Oakland organization where he batted .280 with 15 homers and 68 runs batted in. He was promoted to Triple-A Sacramento and batted .341 in 19 games with the River Cats.

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