Opening the season on another continent will be the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks as they begin the 2014 season on March 22 in Sydney, Australia.
Because of the earlier start date and the travel schedule to Australia, the teams will have to make their spring decisions a bit sooner than usual. For the Dodgers, most of their spots are set in stone and they’re only looking at competitions in a few spots in the shortened spring.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, some of the dates and roster regulations for the teams were released:
Even though the 25-man roster officially doesn’t need to be submitted until March 21 at 1 p.m. PT, the Dodgers and D-backs will break camp on March 16 and take a maximum of 30 players to Australia from which to draw their 25-man Opening Day rosters.
Aside from the 25-man roster, the Dodgers will be allowed to take five additional players to account for injuries, meaning that the five will be a combination of each spot that could be filled. Of the five extra players, three will be considered “exempt” and will remain active up until the first game. These exempt players are players that would normally be active, but aren’t because of the shortness of the series or a decision must still be made on them in the following spring games. The other two are considered extras and can be anyone from the 40-man roster.
Manager Don Mattingly has already expressed they likely won’t take the fifth starter on the trip to Australia. With the shorter spring, any players that have setbacks or minor injuries will be left off the roster because of the short recovery period. The Dodgers will have just 19 Cactus League games this spring, as opposed to the 36 they had last year and will need to make all their decisions based on those 19 games. After Australia, there will still be three games for Mattingly to solidify the roster for the start of the regular season.
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