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Dodgers decline options on Casey Blake, Jon Garland

October 4, 2011 | 12:46 pm

It might be hard to remember now, what with all the kids the Dodgers called up from the minors last season, but they actually began the year a fairly old club.

Older players tend to get injured more frequently than their youthful counterparts, which is pretty much what happened and led to the stampede of youth.

But on Tuesday the Dodgers got a tad younger, severing ties with two veterans when they declined options on third baseman Casey Blake and right-hander Jon Garland.

Both moves were totally expected and necessary. Both players spent the bulk of last season on the disabled list, both underwent surgery and both face uncertain futures. At least not the kind where a team is willing to guarantee Blake $6 million next year and Garland $8 million.

It cost the Dodgers $1.25 million to opt out of Blake’s contract, and $500,000 to opt out on Garland.

Blake, 38, went on the disabled list three different times last season and then had neck surgery in September, managing only 202 at-bats. He spent four solid seasons with the Dodgers and was a part of two playoff clubs.

Blake said prior to the surgery that he wants to continue playing and would like to return to the Dodgers. It’s possible he could be back as a reserve corner infielder, but his days as an everyday starter appear over.

Garland, 32, started just nine games (1-5, 4.33 ERA) before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. He said an MRI had scared off several teams during the off-season, but the Dodgers signed him for $5 million last season to be their fifth starter.

They got one win for their $5 mil.

Also –- get out the hankies -– the Dodgers announced they had outrighted infielder Eugenio Velez and his record 0-for-46 hitting streak to triple-A Albuquerque.


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Photo: Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times