The Los Angeles Dodgers announced the quartet of Austin Barnes, Louis Coleman, Charlie Culberson and Trayce Thompson will be on the 2016 Opening Day roster that needs to be formally submitted by 9:00 a.m. PT Sunday morning.
Barnes’ inclusion is hardly a surprise as Yasmani Grandal is opening the year due to lingering forearm soreness. Grandal was nearing a return, but was unable to fully recover as he played in Minor League games over the weekend.
The same holds true for Culberson as he takes advantage of the vacancy left by Howie Kendrick, who also will be placed on the DL. Culberson, who has Major League experience with the Colorado Rockies, signed to a Minor League last November.
The Dodgers have the option, and presumably will exercise it, to backdate the Grandal’s and Kendrick’s DL stints to March 25. It’s the earliest date to which that can be done, and Grandal and Kendrick are eligible for such course of action by not appearing in a Major League game from that point forward.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said on Friday the club was set on carrying seven relievers, and were down to deciding between Coleman and Luis Avilan. Coleman had a strong spring, while Avilan was inconsistent and by Roberts’ evaluation, went through a stretch where he lacked confidence.
A factor in the decision is Coleman is out of options, while Avilan is not. As such, the left-hander was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Los Angeles could have gambled on sneaking Coleman through waivers, though it was unlikely given his strong showing.
The Dodgers will begin the season with J.P. Howell as the lone lefty in the bullpen. Roberts did express confidence, however, in Pedro Baez and Yimi Garcia being among the right-handers who have success against left-handed batters.
Thompson’s roster spot is byproduct of Andre Ethier sustaining a fractured right tibia that’s expected to keep him out at least until June. “I wanted to put him in different situations because he’s a dynamic player,” said Roberts of Thompson on Thursday.
“The numbers don’t really speak to quality of at-bats he’s had. Trayce has really piqued our curiosity, and I think he’s ready to play in the big leagues.” Along with Ethier, Grandal and Kendrick, Brett Anderson, Mike Bolsinger, Alex Guerrero, Brandon McCarthy, Frankie Montas and Hyun-Jin Ryu are expected to begin the season on the DL.