Colletti and Company Busy in the D.R.

You proably think at this time of year that Ned Colletti is holed up in his office, talking on the phone. Maybe screaming four-letter epithets at Scott Boras- Ned loves to do that these days- or cooing to Theo Epstein about Manny Ramirez. But, no, Ned isn't in L.A. right now. He isn't even in the country.

Colletti is down in the Dominican Republic and the gang's all there with him- newly minted vice-president Logan White, manager Grady Little, the indepensible Luchy Guerra. There, they met with Ralph Avila, in charge of scouting in that country, along with coaches Mariano Duncan and Manny Mota, who live there.

It's a hectic few days for Ned and company. First, Avila has assembled a group of potential players for Colletti and White to evaluate. That will take place Friday and Saturday. Then, at night, they'll go see Matt Kemp play in a winter league game. Matt's not ripping the league apart, you understand, but he has gotten with it a great deal more lately and is hitting .244.

After that, they'll be back at Campo Las Palmas, the Dodger base, to watch an intra-squad game between players they already have under contract. They'll probably decide then who looks ready enough to come to this country next spring. Righthander Tommy Perez, who already impresssed them in the Arizona Instructional League with his 95 mph fast ball is one such candidate.

There's also righthander Johnny Caraballo, a closer type who likewise is a hard thrower, along with lefthander Kelvin Dominguez. His fast ball doesn't trail smoke like the others but he does have a wicked splitter that tends to disappear like your bank account at Christmas time.

The best two hitters down there are oufielder Alfredo Silverio, who has some pop, and catcher Keytel Collado, who also can rake.

So, they'll be looking at what they have and considering what they might get while they're there, then fly up to Olrando and the Winter Meetings on Sunday.

Not that Ned will exactly be out of touch with the rest of the baseball world. True, cell phone service between where he is and the U.S. tends to be erratic but there are other phones close at hand if that cuts out. And you just know that Epstein and Jason Schmidt's agent along with a lot of other people have Ned's number handy. Just in case.

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