Kemp Makes Team, Loney, Bigbie don't

The Dodgers had a couple tricks up their sleeves went it came to cut down to the 25-man roster for opening day. Outfielder Matt Kemp got the nod over Larry Bigbie and James Loney, who led the club in hitting with a .414 average this spring. Rafael Furcal will start the regular season on the disables list and Wilson Valdez was retained while he was being mended.

Hong-Chih Kuo, Yhency Brazoban and Jason Repko will also start the season on the 15-day disabled list. Bigbie, a six-year veteran who came to camp as a non-roster invitee, hit .357 with a team-high 14 RBI Bigbie, a six-year veteran who came to camp as a non-roster invitee, hit .357 with a team-high 14 RBIs has until today (Sunday) before deciding whether to accept a minor league spot.

The club also optioned infielder Andy LaRoche and right-hander Chin-hui Tsao to the minors Saturday, giving the final spot on the 11-man pitching staff to veteran Rudy Seanez.

Kemp, 22, hit .253 with seven home runs in 52 games with the Dodgers last season but also hit .368 in 44 games with Triple-A Las Vegas.

"The last two or three days (Kemp) really played well," general manager Ned Colletti told the Los Angeles Times. "He can play all three outfield spots and he gives us balance on our bench because he's right handed. Clark was our only other right-handed hitter. Plus he's got power."

Furcal, out with a sprained ankle, will be eligible to return Saturday for the fifth game of the season.

Loney, who led the entire Minor League system when he hit .380 at Las Vegas last season, will return to Nevada and will presumably work on his outfield play as well as playing first base.

The Dodgers' clubhouse was empty when Manager Grady Little and General Manager Ned Colletti announced the transactions, with most of the players having exited through a back door.

"Right now, with the makeup of our club, it was just tough for us to have Loney here and have him doing as much sitting as he was probably going to have to be doing," Little said. "He needs to be playing.

"These kids have come to spring training and made these decisions very difficult. For them to take it's difficult sometimes. But that's the way it is."

The Dodgers also acquired yet another veteran infielder, Tomas Perez, from the Chicago Cubs for future considerations. Perez, 33, has played all four infield positions during his 11-year major-league career. Perez hit .212 in 99 games with Tampa Bay last season and will start this year in Triple-A.

It is an insurance move in case infielder Wilson Valdez is lost on waivers when Furcal comes off the disabled list