By now, you may have realized that this part of the Dodger Express is for the type of fan that loves to follow every facet of the team. I have friends who would die for the Dodgers, but even they’d have trouble naming a single player in their farm system. Knowing the inner workings of your favorite team’s franchise is fun, and gives you some extra fan credibility. Checking in on this article every month will avoid the confusion when a new player trots onto the diamond at Dodger Stadium. “Who’s that?” your friend will ask, and you’ll flash him a disapproving glance.
Carlos Monasterios: Unexpectedly, the right-hander made the Opening Day roster. He looked sharp in his first outing against the Pirates. Despite having very little experience in the minors (he had only pitched in A-ball), Monasterios had a strong spring. The Dodgers need as much middle relief as they can get, so Monasterios is as good a bet as any. He will also get the occasional spot start.
Mike Rivera (minor league contract): With backup catcher Brad Ausmus on the DL, the Dodgers will use A.J. Ellis to fill in the role. However, if Ellis struggles tremendously, Rivera will get the call.
Hong-Chi Kuo: The reliever is back, and not a moment too soon. The Dodgers’ bullpen has been disastrous thus far, so hopefully Kuo helps get things back on track.
Ronald Belisario: After arriving to camp five weeks late due to visa problems, manager Joe Torre chose to keep Belisario in extended spring training on the restricted list. Since being activated, he’s pitched less than 10 innings thus far.
A.J. Ellis: Ellis has become the Dodgers’ backup catcher while Ausmus recovers from back surgery.
Xavier Paul: The Dodgers recalled Paul from Triple-A to help against right-handed pitchers while Manny Ramirez is on the DL.
Russ Ortiz: Compiling a 10.29 ERA over seven innings wasn’t going to cut it for manager Joe Torre. He has since elected free agency. The opening spot on the roster will likely go to youngster Jon Link. That is, until Ronald Belisario returns.
Doug Mientkiewicz (minor league contract): One can imagine the feeling of dread that washed over Mientkiewicz after finding out that the Dodgers signed Garret Anderson, another left-handed bat. Anderson is a former All-Star and a Home Run Derby champion, with years of experience playing competitive baseball with the Angels. He also has one World Series under his belt, a feat none of the other Dodgers can claim. So, the team went with Anderson, rendering Mientkiewicz useless. While the team would have liked to leave him in the minors in case of an injury to Anderson, Mientkiewicz plead for his release.
Brad Ausmus: The veteran catcher has a pinched nerve in his back, which will require surgery. Amazingly, this is the first time Ausmus has been placed on the disabled list in his 17-year career.
Jeff Weaver: He’s been placed on the 15-day DL, citing lower back tightness.
Manny Ramirez: The leftfielder went on the DL April 23 with a strained calf muscle. He is expected back shortly.
Eric Gagne: The 34-year-old, who was released by the Dodgers last month, has called it quits. From 2002-04 he was virtually unhittable, notching a 1.79 ERA, 13.3 K/9, and 152 saves in 247 innings.