Montero, Bruce Among Four Released

VERO BEACH, Fla.- Two pitchers who had made it up to the big leagues with other organizations and were trying to make it back with the Dodgers were among the first cuts in the minor leagues.

Augustin Montero and Jeremy Hill, both righthanders were among four players released by Dodger minor league teams. The others dropped were infielder Cole Bruce and leftthander Dave Preziosi.

It was Montero's second try in the organization. He was first signed as a free agent in 2000 after having pitched in the Mariners organization for five years. He worked his way up to Las Vegas but was released after the 2004 season.

He signed with the White Sox and last year pitched in 11 games for them before becoming a free agent once more. The Dodgers liked him enough in winter ball to bring him to camp again but at age 29 didn't show enough to stick in the high minors so was again dropped.

Hill pitched in 10 games for Kansas City in 2002 and in one game in 2003. He later was in the Yankees system but last year was pitching independent ball.

Bruce, who usually played third or first base, was signed as a free agent out of the University of Houston after being passed over in the 2004 draft. Last year he began the season at Vero Beach where he hit .284 with 10 home runs in 85 games.

That earned a mid-season promotion to Jacksonville but he managed only a .167 mark there. When it became obvious that he wasn't going to make the Jacksonville roster this season, he was released.

Preziosi was another undrafted free agent who played at Boston College and was signed last summer. He began the year with the Gulf Coast Dodgers, then was promoted to Columbus where he got in only four innings of relief.