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Turns out the Dodgers are an old story

March 1, 2011 |  6:09 am

Uribe_400 The Dodgers unexpectedly have an age-old problem.

They are an old team. Graybeards with gloves. Guys closer to swinging a walker than a bat. They don’t need human growth hormone, they need Celebrex, and an updated retirement program.

This goes against everything we’ve been told about the Dodgers for the past several years, which is part of the problem. Years go by, and the young aren’t so young anymore. Or at least so I’m told.

Of the 23 Dodgers you could reasonably expect to make their final roster, only two are younger than 26.

That’s it, two -- Clayton Kershaw (23 on March 19) and Kenley Jansen (23).

The average age of those 23 Dodgers is over 30.

Lilly_400 That young core of offensive players is now down to three -- Matt Kemp (26), James Loney (26) and Andre Ethier (29 on April 10).

Otherwise the Dodgers' daily starting lineup is expected to have a 35-year-old catcher (Rod Barajas), a 31-year-old second baseman (Juan Uribe), a 37-year-old third baseman (Casey Blake), a 33-year-old shortstop (Rafael Furcal), and a 33-year-old (Marcus Thames) and soon-to-be-34-year-old (Jay Gibbons, happy birthday on Tuesday) splitting time in left.

Mr. Utility is 37-year-old Jamey Carroll. The frisky backup catcher is a 27-year-old kid, Dioner Navarro.

Blake_250 The rotation has 26-year-old Chad Billingsley and Kershaw, but also 31-year-old Jon Garland, 35-year-old Ted Lilly and 36-year-old Hiroki Kuroda.

The bullpen has 26-year-old Jonathan Broxton and Jansen, but also 28-year-old (happy birthday today) Blake Hawksworth, possibly 28-year-old Ramon Troncoso, 29-year-old Hong-Chih Kuo, 32-year-old Matt Guerrier, and eventually the allegedly 33-year-old Vincente Padilla.

And then still fighting to earn final spots are 34-year-old Aaron Miles, 35-year-old Gabe Kapler, 35-year-old (on Friday) Mike MacDougal, 38-year-old Juan Castro and 39-year-old Ron Mahay.

Geritol all around!

So much for those young Dodgers. Ah, youth, where does it fly?

These guys don’t relate to Don Mattingly, they relate to Tom Lasorda. Or John Glenn. These Dodgers are older than a Charley Steiner one-liner.

The problem with all this, of course, is that older players are more likely to break down. They end up looking for love more often in the whirlpool than the batter’s box.

And for the most part, the guys backing up the old starters are even older reserves. Old teams can still win, but they can also tag-team it to the disabled list.

Forget that youthful Dodgers routine. Old news.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Top photo: Juan Uribe. Credit: Jake Roth / US Presswire

Middle photo: Teddy Lilly. Credit: Kyle Terada / US Presswire

Bottom photo: Casey Blake. Credit: Jake Roth / US Presswire