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Opening Day roster starting to come into focus

Roberts' plan for 8-man bullpen places premium on bench versatility
MLB.com @kengurnick

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said on Friday he wants to open the season with an eight-man bullpen, which brings the Opening Day roster into clearer focus.

Because Yimi Garcia (who is recovering from Tommy John surgery) has pitched only once in eight days, he's essentially eliminated. Pat Venditte told TrueBlue L.A. he's going to Triple-A to be built up for multiple innings. That leaves a bullpen of Kenley Jansen, Scott Alexander, Pedro Baez, Tony Cingrani, Ross Stripling, Josh Fields, J.T. Chargois, and Wilmer Font (who is out of options).

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said on Friday he wants to open the season with an eight-man bullpen, which brings the Opening Day roster into clearer focus.

Because Yimi Garcia (who is recovering from Tommy John surgery) has pitched only once in eight days, he's essentially eliminated. Pat Venditte told TrueBlue L.A. he's going to Triple-A to be built up for multiple innings. That leaves a bullpen of Kenley Jansen, Scott Alexander, Pedro Baez, Tony Cingrani, Ross Stripling, Josh Fields, J.T. Chargois, and Wilmer Font (who is out of options).

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Justin Turner's broken left wrist required a bench adjustment, as Logan Forsythe moves to third base from second base, and second base becomes a platoon between Chase Utley and Enrique Hernandez.

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Recent playing time indicates the fourth outfielder will be Joc Pederson and not Andrew Toles, who has cooled off after a hot start and probably will be better served playing regularly for Triple-A Oklahoma City after missing most of last season after undergoing major surgery on his right knee.

The final bench spot appears to be between Trayce Thompson, who is out of options, and Kyle Farmer. With three everyday outfielders being right-handed hitters, and the left-handed Pederson capable of playing center field, Thompson is expendable. Interest from other clubs, however, has been negligible.

But for inventory purposes, management must weigh the risk of losing Thompson if it tries to outright him to the Minor Leagues and keep Farmer, who has a dangerous bat off the bench and some defensive versatility.

Roberts said two players are likely to be cut before the club leaves Arizona on Saturday, with the final decision probably not coming until the roster is submitted on Wednesday.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers