Minor League Advance Camp Opens

VERO BEACH, Fla.- What might be described as the second wave of the best and brightest in the system are in Dodgertown with the opening of an advance camp for minor leaguers.

There are 22 players in the select group which are here to serve in several capacities. They will comprise a large bulk of the squad that will represent Jacksonville in a special exhibition game against the Dodgers to be played at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on Feb. 28.

They also can be used as fill-in players for the major league team, especially when it is depleted by the departure of those who are set to participate in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

In addition, this camp will give new manager Grady Little and general manager Ned Colletti a chance to see what's coming up through the system.

Lefthander Scott Elbert, infielders Blake DeWitt and Ivan DeJesus, Jr. and outfielders Anthony Ragllani and Justin Ruggiano are among those invited to participate in this camp, the first of its kind to be held by the Dodgers in many years. Also, righthander Joel Hanrahan, who was dropped from the 40-man roster, is here as are two newcomers, catcher Brad Cresse and lefthander Nick Bierbrodt.

Cresse is the son of former Dodger bullpen coach Mark while Bierbrodt was at onetime one of the brighter prospects in the minor leagues before being shot in a bizarre incident in which he was an innocent victim.

He was selected by the Diamondbacks in the first round of the 1996 draft out of Long Beach Millikan High School. Both signed as free agents over the winter.

Also, catcher Eric Langill, who served as a backup for Jacksonville last season, has been added to the main camp as a non-roster player.

The complete squad:

PITCHERS- Eric Hull, Matt Merricks, Elbert, Mark Alexander, Julio Pimentel, Jon Meloan, Chris Malone, Bierbrodt, Hanrahan, Casey Hoorelbeke.

CATCHERS- Cresse, AJ. Ellis, Tony Harper.

INFIELDERS- Cory Dunlap, DeJesus, Travis Denker, Jimmy Rohan, DeWitt.

OUTFIELDERS- Xavier Paul, Ruggiano, Raglani, Jamie Hoffmann.