Dodgers cut down to 32

Dodgers cut down to 32

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- The Dodgers continued their roster trimming Tuesday morning, optioning out top prospect Joel Guzman and utility infielder Willy Aybar.

The 6-foot-6 Guzman was asked this spring to move from shortstop to left field and he made the transition so impressively that officials were tempted to find a place for him on the Opening Day roster. But they stuck to their initial plan that Guzman would be sent to Triple-A if he did not win the everyday job outright.

That role will go to Jose Cruz Jr., who is hitting .313. But Guzman, 21, did not embarrass himself, batting .296 with two home runs and seven RBIs. He did strike out 11 times compared to three walks, but made no errors.

"They told me to do what I have to do to be ready," said Guzman. "They made the decision. They know what they're doing."

Manager Grady Little said Guzman will play mostly left field in Las Vegas, but also would appear occasionally at first base and third base, an indicator that if he's hitting well, he could be recalled in the event of injury or slump of any outfielder or infielders Nomar Garciaparra and Bill Mueller.

Aybar, 23, hit .216 this spring after a slow start to camp, in contrast to the .326 average he posted during a September callup last year. His chances weren't helped by the presence of utilitymen Ramon Martinez and Oscar Robles, who come with the added value of being able to play shortstop. Aybar played only second base and third base this spring.

The Dodgers now have 32 players in camp. Two of them, Cesar Izturis and Jayson Werth, will start the season on the disabled list.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.