The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to fly to Australia tonight in anticipation of their regular season opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks in just six days. With a 30-man roster available for the Opening Series, the team finally started to trim the fat and get down to the roster limit.
The Dodgers officially reassigned catcher Miguel Olivo to minor league camp, but upon hearing he wouldn’t be on the flight to Australia, he’s asked for his release. Also, the team optioned Erisbel Arruebarrena to minor league camp after he showed up earlier in the week, but it isn’t know where he’ll start his big league career.
Not surprisingly, the Dodgers also purchased the contract of utility man Justin Turner, who signed a minor league deal with the team in early February. To make room for Turner on the roster, the Dodgers placed left-handed pitcher Onelki Garcia on the 60-Day DL as he recovers from off-season elbow surgery.
While Spring Training stats are typically meaningless, the 29-year-old is hitting .333 in 15 games and 30 at-bats with the Dodgers, leading the team in runs scored and doubles. Non-tendered by the New York Mets over the off-season, Turner is a career .260 hitter and can play everywhere on the infield.
Manager Don Mattingly has been impressed by what he’s seen from him this spring according to Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLA:
I think Justin has been a guy who seems comfortable all around the diamond. His hands seem to work really easy. He’s had quality at-bats. Really it’s the same thing we saw with the Mets in the last couple of years. For a guy who doesn’t get a chance to play everyday, it looks like the at-bats are competitive.
So far this spring, he’s played all four infield positions and could be a platoon candidate with Dee Gordon at second base. The departures of Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker, Jerry Hairston Jr and Mark Ellis drew the Dodgers to Turner and his versatility is a huge plus.
Turner joins Chone Figgins, Scott Van Slyke, Tim Federowicz and Mike Baxter as likely candidates for the Dodgers bench at the start of the 2014 season.
ICYMI: Clayton Kershaw is honored to pitch Game 1 of the Opening Series in Australia