Martinez, Ainsworth Create New Roster bubbles

Six year big league veteran infield backup Ramon Martinez - no kin to the Dodgers pitcher of old - immediately places two Dodgers infielders on the bubble, namely Oscar Robles and Willy Aybar. The former Giant and Philly infielder will start spring training having locked up the backup slot at short, second and third.

With the Dodgers probably committed to carrying only six players on the bench for the eight position players, Martinez leads for one spot. Backup catcher/coach Sandy Alomar Jr. has one. Righty pinch hitter Olmedo Saenz has another. By default, Hee Sop Choi, a lefty, has to play his way out of another.

With Jason Werth sidelined at the start by injury, and with Kenny Lofton needing days off (whether he wants them or not), and J.D. Drew always a minute from another injury, the question is can the Dodgers go with Jose Cruz in left and only Ricky Ledee in reserve.

Unless another outfielder coming aboard (a Bobby Higginson or Richard Hidalgo), will the Dodgers be forced to keep light hitting but great fielder Jason Repko until Werth returns. That being the case, there looks like a great chance Willy Aybar goes back to Las Vegas.

The Dodger will almost certainly carry 11 pitchers. So the odd man out could be Oscar Robles, who played so well a year ago. Robles with only a partial year in the bigs would seem behind the more experienced Martinez, particularly since the Dodgers are going with a veteran lineup in an effort to win now.

Ainsworth is a different case. Sidelined for most of the past two years, he is going to have to prove he is healthy to crack the 11 man pitching rotation. He throws hard, harder than D.J. Holton, and probably as hard as Brett Tomko.

But he throws without a lot of movement and unless he can pick up a splitter or cutter from Jay Seo, it says here he'll go down to AAA ball to solidify his health and look for movement. It that works, he easily could be an early callup. A callup that gives a Jonathan Broxton more time to mature at AAA ball.

And Chicago based baseball writer, a good one, speculates the Dodgers, even after all their moves, might be looking for another outfielder and starting pitcher.

The Dodgers drooled over Joey Gaithright, who still could be had from Tampa Bay and there are the aforementioned Higginson and Hidalgo - each of whom might regenerate their careers in a Dodgers uniform like Jose Cruz Jr. did a year ago.

GM Ned Colletti has brought in a number of ex-Giants and one starter available is Kirk Reuter, who is both a veteran and a lefty. Another unsigned hurler out there is the old Dodgers pitcher Ismael Valdez, who has had a number of effective seasons of late in his peripatetic meanderings around both leagues.