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Reading the tea leaves on the Dodgers' opening-day roster

March 26, 2010 |  1:14 pm
Putting the pieces together, or trying to by reading into what we’ve seen, what Joe Torre has done and what it looks like he’s doing …

OK, so admittedly, there’s way too much focus on the season’s opening-day roster. Did I say way too much?

Within a week of the season’s start, there will likely be a change for some reason. And then it will continue to be an evolving entity all season.

But this is the time of spring when most experimenting is reaching an end and decisions have been formulated.

So here’s our best roster guess, March 26 version:

Daily lineup: Rafael Furcal SS, Matt Kemp CF,  Andre Ethier RF, Manny Ramirez LF, James Loney 1B, Casey Blake 3B, Russell Martin C, Blake DeWitt 2B.

Bench: Reed Johnson OF, Garret Anderson OF-1B, Ronnie Belliard INF, Jamey Carroll INF-OF,  Brad Ausmus C.

Rotation: Vicente Padilla, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Charlie Haeger.

Bullpen: Jonathan Broxton, George Sherrill, Hong-Chih Kuo, Ramon Troncoso, Jeff Weaver, Carlos Monasterios, Ramon Ortiz.

There remain several uncertain spots, given that this assumes good health for Martin, Ausmus and Kuo, none a certainty. Kuo could easily start the season on the DL, opening up a possible spot for Eric Stults or Justin Miller.

The fifth spot is still undetermined, but I’m giving Haeger a slight edge now via the way Torre is setting up the pitching schedule. Russ Ortiz remains a factor, and Josh Towers and Josh Lindblom still hover.

This scenario, however, does not bode well for Doug Mientkiewicz, whom Torre would like to have on the team and in the clubhouse. But with Anderson hitting .375 this spring and willing to work at first, he seems assured of making the team.

If either Martin or Ausmus can’t go, then A.J. Ellis is locked in at catcher.

And then, of course, it’s presumed some day reliever Ronald Belisario will show up.

--Steve Dilbeck
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