Dodgers to go with 12 pitchers

Dodgers to go with 12 pitchers

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Ending weeks of internal debate, the Dodgers on Wednesday morning finally decided to open the season with 12 pitchers. They notified long relievers Aaron Sele and Brian Meadows they would not be on the 25-man roster Opening Day and recalled left-handed reliever Tim Hamulack.

To allow for the recall of Hamulack, shortstop Cesar Izturis was placed on the disabled list. Izturis is due back from Tommy John elbow surgery in mid-may.

The decision to go with 12 pitchers was made with several factors in mind, the primary being Eric Gagne's uncertain health. With Hong-Chih Kuo's history of elbow problems and the lack of a true long reliever, manager Grady Little and his staff wanted innings coverage should they experience a short start the first week.

An MRI on Rafael Furcal's back revealed a strain and he's day-to-day. Ramon Martinez will make the club as the primary utilityman, while fellow utilityman Oscar Robles' status remains uncertain. If Furcal is disabled, Robles would make the club. If Furcal is to be sidelined only a few days, the club might keep Robles and go with four outfielders by optioning Jason Repko to Triple-A Las Vegas. If Furcal is ready to play Opening Day, Robles would be optioned out.

Sele, a veteran of 13 Major League seasons, was considering a request by the club to accept an assignment to Las Vegas. Meadows rejected such a request and was granted his release by the terms of his contract.

Sele had a 4.32 ERA in 16 2/3 innings, including five starts. Meadows had a 9.58 ERA in 10 1/3 innings, including one seven-run inning.

Sele, who lives in Orange County, will make the club's charter flight to Las Vegas and notify the club of his decision in the next few days. Meadows drove home to Alabama.

"I signed to compete for the fifth starter job, then they traded for Jae Seo," said Sele. "All I could do after that was compete. I feel I threw the ball well. Maybe I caught the attention of another team."

"I had one real bad outing and that was pretty much it," said Meadows, a seven-year veteran. "I've done this job for years and seem to have done good in the past. They just didn't see me pitching for this team."

The pitching staff as it now stands: starters Derek Lowe, Brad Penny, Odalis Perez, Brett Tomko and Jae Seo and relievers Gagne, Danys Baez, Yhency Brazoban, Lance Carter, Kuo, Franquelis Osoria and Hamulack.

With Izturis and Jayson Werth starting the season on the disabled list, decisions still must be made on catcher Russell Martin and outfielder Cody Ross.

Pat Borders, as originally planned, will play for Class A Vero Beach and be backup insurance should something happen to Sandy Alomar Jr. Martin will travel with the club as insurance if Dioner Navarro's hamstring acts up again. Ross is out of options.

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