Dodgers Make Final Roster Cuts -- Sort of

The Dodgers cut and slashed their roster to reach the official 25-man roster but hedged their bets just a bit in case an experience third baseman can be obtained before the opener today against San Francisco.

The Dodger Class of 2008:

Catchers: Russell Martin, Gary Bennett.

Infielders: James Loney, Jeff Kent, Rafael Furcal, Mark Sweeney, Chin-lung Hu, Tony Abreu, *Blake DeWitt, *Angel Chavez.

Outfielders: Matt Kemp, Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones, Andre Ethier, Delwyn Young.

Pitchers: Brad Penny, Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Esteban Loaiza, Takashi Saito, Jonathan Broxton, Joe Beimel, Scott Proctor, Hong-Chih Kuo, Ramon Troncoso.

Disabled List: Nomar Garciaparra, Andy LaRoche, Jason Schmidt.

Observant readers will notice that there are 27 listed on this 25-man roster. Jason Schmidt will be placed on the 60-day DL, which will clear a 40-man spot, so the club can purchase the contracts of both Angel Chavez and Blake DeWitt.

DeWitt and Chavez are non-roster players. Abreu will be put on the DL Monday, likely making room for DeWitt if they decide to go that way.

But the Dodgers are still working on making a trade for a 3B/Utility infielder. General Manager Ned Colletti said a trade in the next 24 hours was doubtful, but he wanted the room if one happened or if a third baseman good enough to start for the Dodgers became available.

If that doesn't happen by Monday, Colletti said the club would scout available players over the next two weeks while watching how the 22-year-old DeWitt fares against Major League pitching. DeWitt has never played higher than Double-A.

"A trade is still viable, but what they are asking us to give up is a little strong because of the predicament we're in," said Colletti, who only wants a stop-gap solution until Garciaparra or LaRoche return in a matter of weeks.

Chavez is a 26-year-old infielder from Panama and who was been in the Giants system for his entire career in the Giants chain until the past two years, when he played in the Phillies, Orioles and Yankees system. He only has 10 major-league games, all in 2005 with the Giants.

The moves meant 25-year-old rookie reliever Ramon Troncoso beat out Chan Ho Park for the final spot on an 11-man pitching staff.

Torre also broke the news to Juan Pierre that Ethier would start the season in left field.

"He just said 'OK,' but I know he is disappointed, and that's fine," Torre said. "You don't want a guy sitting on your bench who just accepts being on the bench." Torre said the veteran outfielder will be a regular bench player, pinch hitter and pinch-runner. "Before it's all said and done, we're going to get contributions from a lot of people," Torre said.

Colletti said he had not talked to Pierre about losing his CF and now LF spots and did not plan on going out of his way to talk to him about the situation.

"I'm here," Colletti said. "He knows where to find me."

The team reassigned pitchers Brian Falkenborg, Mike Koplove, Greg Jones, Clayton Kershaw, Chan Ho Park; catchers René Rivera and Danny Ardoin and and infielder Ramon Martinez.

Repko was optioned to Class AAA Las Vegas following the game, because of the over-crowded outfield. "I did all I could this spring," Repko said. "From the beginning of the spring, the writing was on the wall, but its still disappointing."

Manager Joe Torre told Repko that had this been any other club, he would have made the roster, but the sheer numbers were the deciding factor.

"It's hard to know you're good enough to be on the team, but there is no space," Repko said.

Colletti and manager Joe Torre said Park would have made the club if it had kept 12 pitchers and that he would accept a Triple-A assignment so he's ready when the club needs a 12th pitcher, probably by mid-April.

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