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Carlos Monasterios will make it through the season, but it's no guarantee he'll be with Dodgers next year

September 1, 2010 |  6:34 am
Carlos Monasterios has done it.

Wednesday is the first day rosters can be expanded to 40, meaning Monasterios is going to last the entire season as a rookie Rule 5 free agent.

In team history, only one other player -- D.J. Houlton in 2005 -- has ever made it through the entire season without the Dodgers having to offer the pick back to his original club.

Which still doesn’t mean Monasterios will be with the Dodgers next season. At least not the big-league version.

Once the season is over, he’s officially the Dodgers’ property and without restrictions. Meaning, next season, they can send him to the minors without having to offer him back to his former club.

"We’ll have more flexibility," said manager Joe Torre. "This year was a good experience for him.

"He needs regular work, and next year we’ll have that opportunity."

Which sounded like an announcement that Monasterios would be starting in the minors next season.

The Dodgers kept Monasterios as a long man when the season began but, because of various injuries, has been their main spot starter. He’s appeared in 28 games this season, including 11 starts.

He’s had mixed results -- 3-5, 4.02 ERA -- but prefers to start. Out of the bullpen, however, he’s 1-0 with a 2.32 ERA. He was roughed up for five runs in two innings by the Phillies on Tuesday.

Monasterios, 24, said he believed he belonged at the major-league level.

"Of course," he said.

But he pretty much throws two pitches -- fastball, breaking ball -- and the Dodgers want him to learn a third pitch. Until this season, he had appeared in only two games above the double-A level.

"He’s still learning," Torre said. "We knew when we took him in spring training that this was a kid we wanted for the future.

"He’s given us some good games, and out of the bullpen he’s done a good job. But he’s still in that growing process."

A process that, it appears right now, could take him back to the minors next season.

If he does make the club as a starter, that could be telling about the Dodgers’ offseason.

-- Steve Dilbeck