By Steve Dilbeck
12:18 AM EDT, March 22, 2014
The Dodgers announced their 25-man roster before opening the regular season against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia, and if it mostly came out as expected, it wasn’t devoid of surprise.
Alex Guerrero, the Cuban infielder who did not play last season and is making the conversion to second base, made the cut (for now), but last year’s backup catcher, Tim Federowicz, did not.
The Dodgers elected to keep catcher Drew Butera, who is out of options, and send Federowicz, who still has them, back to the minors. Federowicz appeared in 56 games last season as A.J. Ellis’ backup, batting .231 with a .275 on-base percentage.
The Dodgers acquired Butera at the trading deadline last year from the Minnesota Twins to give themselves needed catching depth. Butera, however, is hardly an offensive upgrade. In parts of the last four seasons, he’s hit just .181 (90 for 497).
The Dodgers used starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Dan Haren (who remained back in Phoenix because they would not pitch in Sydney) and reliever Brandon League as their three roster exemptions.
Carl Crawford remained back on paternity leave. Matt Kemp, Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley were put on the 15-day disabled list. They are eligible to return April 4 in the home opener against the San Francisco Giants if they do not play in the three Freeway Series exhibitions against the Angels.
So the current roster figures to last for just these two games in Sydney before the Dodgers add Greinke, Haren, Crawford and, presumably, League for the three-game series in San Diego beginning March 30.
It could be a short stay on the 25-man for Guerrero. Manager Don Mattingly is opening the season with a platoon of Justin Turner and Dee Gordon at second.
Needing only two starters in Australia, the Dodgers are going with a whopping 10-man bullpen. They reassigned outfielder Joc Pederson, starting pitcher Zach Lee and infielder Miguel Rojas to the minors.
The 25-man roster for Sydney:
Pitchers (12): Jose Dominguez, J.P. Howell, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Paul Maholm, Chris Perez, Seth Rosin, Paco Rodriguez, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brian Wilson, Chris Withrow and Jamey Wright.
Catchers (2): Butera and Ellis.
Infielders (6): Gordon, Guerrero, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Turner and Juan Uribe.
Outfielders (4): Mike Baxter, Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig and Scott Van Slyke.
Infielder/Outfielder (1): Chone Figgins.
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