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Dodgers poised to exit Meetings unchanged

Talk surrounding Price, Kemp yet to escalate as Colletti returns to LA

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Winter Meetings will close Thursday without the Dodgers concluding a significant deal, general manager Ned Colletti predicted Wednesday night.

After days of rumors that had the Dodgers trying to acquire Rays pitcher David Price and trying to move Matt Kemp or another outfielder, the Dodgers will leave with the same squad they had when the Meetings opened.

Colletti said he talked to more agents than teams at the Meetings, without filling the holes he stated needed filling -- a starting infielder, at least two relief pitchers and a utility man.

He said he continues to talk to four of the Dodgers' free agents -- third baseman Juan Uribe, reliever J.P. Howell and infielders Mark Ellis and Michael Young. That implies he's not talking to the other two, pitcher Chris Capuano and reliever Carlos Marmol.

Uribe still appears to be the most logical solution at third base, if a short-term deal can be reached. In lieu of that, the Alexander Guerrero experiment at second base continues in the Dominican Republic, where the Cuban is playing winter ball for Los Gigantes del Cibao, but apparently hasn't convinced anybody that he's ready defensively for prime time.

Guerrero's bat is alive, but he has been a shortstop exclusively who is trying to learn how to play second base and needs more work on the intricacies of the position. The Dodgers would like to see what he can do at shortstop in case they want to slide Hanley Ramirez over to third base, but Guerrero's Dominican club wants him at second because Jonathan Diaz is its shortstop.

"We don't run that team, and they've got to win," Colletti said of the club, which also is working Alexi Casilla into the infield rotation. Colletti said special assistant Jose Vizcaino spent a week working with Guerrero, who might report early to the Dodgers' Spring Training complex, Camelback Ranch-Glendale, for more instruction.

Colletti said the reliever market is "still locked up pretty good," after a flurry of early signings that included the Dodgers' re-signing of Brian Wilson last week. But Colletti said there also is a greater supply of right-handed relievers than anything else on the market.

Colletti also said he believed the rule change banning home-plate collisions was "a step in the right direction" to make the game safer for catchers.

In Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, Colletti indicated there are a few players the Dodgers would be interested in, speculating that they would be taken by the time the Dodgers select No. 24. With their biggest need being left-handed relief, among those available are Seattle's Brian Moran, Freddy Lewis of the Yankees and Houston's Alex Sogard.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
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