Joe, This Ain't Your Yankees

Joe Torre's metamorphous from the Yankees who have been in the playoffs for 12 straight seasons to the Dodgers who are, out of necessity, savoring the 1988 World Series win, must be a trying time for him as his 2008 squad is equal parts injured or inexperienced.

Compound that with the Marco Polo-aspect of the exhibition season that send him to China with three regulars, then moved the squad from Florida to Arizona for a week before finally finding their way home to Los Angeles.

Meetings have been held to determine the 25-man roster but were postponed until a later date to give everyone another look at those on the bubble.

Andrew Jones, who is hitting .200 and change, compacted the outfield to a four-man unit, with a determination coming on which two will join Jones.

Juan Pierre, seemingly the odd-man-out with an average hovering at the .200 line, is viewing with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, both slugging the ball hard

Third base has been a jinxed position for both the Brooklyn and Los Angeles addition of the Dodgers since they fielder a professional team in 1884.

Save brief appearances by Cookie Lavagetto and Billy Cox in Brooklyn and Ron Cey and Adrian Beltré in L.A., the hot corner has been a revolving door.

This season is no exception with Nomar Garciaparra and Andy LaRoche sporting injuries that will keep them out of action when the starting gun sounds.

Rookie Blake DeWitt has been deemed too young to hold the job down but the kid knocks in runs with great regularity. Same for Chin-Lung Hu.

So the crown will be placed on Tony Abreu, as near as anyone can tell.

Jeff Kent may or may not start the season at second and maybe Hu will fill in for him unless the old hitless-wonder Ramon Martinez again works his remarkable magic and lands a spot on the team.

Torre said earlier that pitching makes it happen, but other than Brad Penny and Derek Lowe, his starting group is somewhat in disarray.

Chad Billingsley has been banged around with great regularity and newly acquired Hiroki Kuroda have struggled recently.

The fifth spot should go to Clayton Kershaw if spring figures have any meaning, but the Dodgers are going to be extra cautious with the just turned 20-year-old.

That means Hong-Chih Kuo (perhaps the only lefty starter on the team), Esteban Loaiza (whose lifetime 4.50 ERA gives pause for thought) or re-treaded Chan-Ho Park will earn the slot.

The bullpen is almost in the same boat, with closer Takashi Saito having only worked four innings due to injury and those innings have left him with and ugly ERA.

Joe Beimel has a double-digit earned run average and, excluding Kuo, is the only lefty available unless Torre keeps Mark Myers, who has alternated good and bad performances.

Things are so critical, young Ramon Troncoso may be in consideration. Scott Proctor and Jonathan Broxton, the stopper-in-waiting, will flesh out (pun intended) the bullpen.

Bright spots include shortstop Rafael Furcal who seems like the player who was the Dodgers' 2006 Most Valuable Player. James Loney will fill the bill quite well at first.

And, of course, All-Star catcher Russell Martin will cover most games behind the plate.

Today (Thursday), the Dodgers meet the Angeles in Anaheim and the "around the world in 30 days" preseason concludes with three games against Boston, including the ThinkBlue fundraiser at the Coliseum Saturday night, with 113,000 tickets sold.

Saenz Released
Rudy Saenz, who was among the walking -- but not pitching -- wounded much of the spring, was cut from the team after being victimized by sloppy play in the Milwaukee game.

The first hitter he faced flew to center where Jason Repko could not handle the ball inn the sun. It was called a double, a tainted double at best.

From there on the inning went down hill with the Brewers stealing three bases without a throw and the lead run crossing the plate when, with the infield in and the score tied, Tony Abreu fumbled a grounder and could only get the out at first base on the play.

Both runs he allowed were unearned but he was handed a pink slip anyway.

Seanez, 39, had a poor spring, recording a 7.71 ERA after being slowed by a strained groin muscle early.

He has been pitching professionally since 1986 and was a workhorse for the Dodgers last year, appearing in 73 games and going 6-3 with a 3.79 ERA.

Seanez had a $150,000 bonus if he had made the Opening Day roster.

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