Few Surprises on Playoff Roster

The Dodgers set their playoff roster, well, sort of anyway. The determination of the 11 pitching spot was the sticker and it seems Joe Torre and Ned Colletti decided on Ramon Troncoso. Some speculated that veteran Scott Proctor and rookie James McDonald were in the running right up to the last minute.

Things can be changed right up until game time (4:30 EST), but the starting nine looks this way at the moment:
 
SS Rafael Furcal
C Russell Martin
LF Manny Ramirez
RF Andre Ethier
1B James Loney
RF Matt Kemp
2B Blake DeWitt
3B Casey Blake
RH Derek Lowe
Interestingly enough, just about a week ago Furcal and Kent were being written off as even being on the roster, let along members of the starting lineup. But both Furcal will start and Kent, who could probably start, will be behind Blake DeWitt. Furcal will be backed up by Angel Berroa at short.

Furcal and Kent are both coming off surgery.

Kent told the writers that he was exhausted during the spring by the constant questions about his availability and that they are having the same effect now.

"I've been doing this for a year or two and know what I can do and what I can't," he said. He is making a remarkable recovery from knee surgery late in the season.

"He was a longshot," Torre said of Kent, whose knee is still tender. "In the opportunities he's had, he certainly showed he can swing the bat."

Furcal has played only 15 innings in the field since May but he believes he is ready to play the complete game after missing 125 straight games.

"I wanted to play nine innings Saturday in San Francisco, but they didn't let me," Furcal told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. "I think I can. We'll see what happens tomorrow. I'm not scared. I know I'm feeling good. My back feels better than ever and my hamstring keeps getting better when I run."

As you might expect, it is an eclectic mix of veterans and rookies, much like the regular season.

Torre was reluctant to name a closer between Takashi Saito and Jonathan Broxton. He prefers the veteran Saito but because of a torn right elbow ligament kept him out of action for two months, he may not be as effective working two games in a row.

The sturdy Broxton was was the stopper during Saito's absence, and Torre said he wouldn't hesitate to use him.

Important lefthanded reliever Hong-Chih Kuo was medically cleared for action after complaining about a not being able to grip the ball when warming up in San Francisco. However, he did not make the roster.

Fellow lefty Joe Beimel, who cut his hand badly in a bar just before the 2006 playoffs and was unable to pitch, will be counted on in Kuo's absence and has the opportunity to redeem himself.

The experienced side of things is led by today's starter, Derek Lowe, and he is joined by Greg Maddux, Hiroki Kuroda, Casey Blake, Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent and Manny Ramirez, with youngsters Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Ramon Troncoso and Cory Wade on the pitching staff and Danny Ardoin, Blake DeWitt, James Loney and Andre Ethier,

The complete roster:

 Pitchers
Joe Beimel
Chad Billingsley
Jonathan Broxton
Clayton Kershaw
Hiroki Kuroda
Chan Ho Park
Derek Lowe
Takashi Saito
Ramon Troncoso
Greg Maddux
Cory Wade

 Catchers
Danny Ardoin
Russell Martin

 Infielders
Angel Berroa
Casey Blake
Blake DeWitt
Rafael Furcal
Nomar Garciaparra
Jeff Kent
James Loney
Pablo Ozuna

 Outfielder
Andre Ethier
Matt Kemp
Juan Pierre
Manny Ramirez
Troncoso's youth allows him to warm up numerous times without a problem, while Proctor's injury would not allow him to do that.

Pierre is the only LH bat off the bench with Sweeney not making the roster, but Joe reiterated that Nomar and Kent are good enough hitters against right-handers that it shouldn't matter.

The second round of the playoff could see a different roster, assuming the Dodgers reach the second round.

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