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Dodgers close to trimming down camp roster

Expected Opening Day lineup should start seeing more at-bats
MLB.com @alysonfooter

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With the regular season exactly three weeks away, most teams -- even those that still have roster questions to answer -- have started to field lineups that mostly resemble the ones that will be utilized when the exhibition season gives way to the real thing.

The Dodgers, coming off a National League championship with most of the team still intact, had few lineup questions coming into Spring Training. They'll spend the final weeks in Arizona with the simple task of making sure everyone has had enough spring at-bats, and trying to keep everyone healthy.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With the regular season exactly three weeks away, most teams -- even those that still have roster questions to answer -- have started to field lineups that mostly resemble the ones that will be utilized when the exhibition season gives way to the real thing.

The Dodgers, coming off a National League championship with most of the team still intact, had few lineup questions coming into Spring Training. They'll spend the final weeks in Arizona with the simple task of making sure everyone has had enough spring at-bats, and trying to keep everyone healthy.

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Manager Dave Roberts indicated on Thursday that the Dodgers will soon be making cuts from their Major League camp, which further illustrates the club's desire to start shifting its focus to Opening Day.

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"I don't know the particular day," Roberts said about the pending cuts. "But this weekend seems at the forefront of our radar. Part of it is to get guys opportunities over there [on the Minor League side], getting them consistent at-bats or innings, as we start building guys up over here. It's been good so far, and it just makes sense."

The Dodgers' lineup on Thursday against the Indians was a good indicator of what may be to come. Corey Seager, who's been nursing a sore right elbow and is expected to play shortstop in a Minor League game on Monday, served as the designated hitter, but overall, the lineup bore a resemblance to the one projected heading into the exhibition season.

"We're getting there," Roberts said. "With certain guys like Chris Taylor, Corey and obviously J.T. [Justin Turner] and [Matt] Kemp and [Yasiel] Puig, we're kind of getting that continuity."

Video: LAD@CLE: Kemp laces a hard-hit double to right-center

Along those lines, Thursday's game -- a 4-1 loss to the Indians -- produced several positives. Cody Bellinger yanked his first homer of the spring, a no-doubter off Josh Tomlin that led off the second inning. Also, Kemp furthered his case to make the club, drawing a walk in the second and doubling in the fourth.

And starter Alex Wood, who will pitch the second game of the season, behind Clayton Kershaw and ahead of Kenta Maeda, had his best outing of the spring, throwing four shutout innings with no walks and five strikeouts.

Wood's only blemishes were two Rajai Davis hits -- a double in the first, and a base hit in the fourth.

"I keep talking about progress each time," Wood said. "I threw a really good bullpen, just keep making tiny little adjustments and see where things take me to get them to really click and feel like a puzzle piece. I felt like I had a good idea going into my 'pen, something I wanted to just add into it. I was glad I was able to translate today."

Video: LAD@CLE: Wood K's five over four scoreless frames

Wood said he's been working on his timing and tempo all spring, but for this start, he also sped up his leg lift, which seemed to work.

"It helped everything start moving in the right direction," he said.

Bellinger, who was 1-for-2, has five hits in 17 spring at-bats. Three of his hits have been for extra bases.

"He got a fastball, middle in and did some damage," Robert said. "Cody's starting to look more comfortable in the box."

As the spring lineups continue to resemble each other from day to day and starters increase their at-bats per game, playing time becomes limited for others. The pending roster cuts will remedy the logjams.

"As we thin the room out coming up here shortly, and we're getting guys back from sickness, it'll start to kind of resemble what we're doing going forward even more," Roberts said.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Cody Bellinger, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood