Tough roster decisions loom

Tough roster decisions loom

TUCSON, Ariz. -- When Dodgers management meets Monday to discuss the roster, decisions will be shaped as much by the players it doesn't want to lose as the ones it chooses to keep.

Hong-Chih Kuo and Delwyn Young are the two players likely to make the Opening Day club in large part because they are out of options and could be claimed by another team if the Dodgers tried to send them to the Minor Leagues.

Young is batting only .152 after a Friday strikeout, his 14th in 46 at-bats. Keeping Young almost certainly would mean Jason Repko would be sent down, even though Repko is batting .343.

Kuo was shaky, allowing two walks and two runs in 1 2/3 innings after four scoreless outings. But manager Joe Torre excused Kuo's performance, an indicator that he's got a good chance to make the staff as a swingman, a second lefty to complement Joe Beimel and one who can pitch multiple innings as a natural starter. Kuo is coming off his fourth elbow operation.

"He has no options, he's left-handed and has a great arm," Torre said, offering the attributes Kuo brought into this spring. "Something happens the last week of Spring Training. Pitchers put more on their shoulders than they need to. I thought he overthrew the ball."

Chan Ho Park continued his longshot bid for a roster spot, holding Arizona scoreless for 3 1/3 innings before walking a pair and allowing a three-run blast to D-backs catcher Chris Snyder. They were the first runs Park had allowed all spring.

Even if he does not get the nod over Esteban Loaiza as the fifth starter, Park could secure a staff spot as a long reliever if the club keeps 12 pitchers. If not, he could be sent to Triple-A until May 15, when he has an out in his contract.

Rudy Seanez allowed a two-run homer to Snyder in his inning of work. Scott Proctor had an unearned run score in his.

Injuries to infielders could impact whether the club can afford to carry 12 pitchers. Chin-lung Hu, barely given a chance to make the club when camp opened, has a solid shot now with Nomar Garciaparra and Jeff Kent ailing.

Garciaparra reported the pain in his broken bone was bad enough that he couldn't throw, pushing back any attempt at swinging a bat until the middle of next week, according to Torre. He's likely to start the season on the disabled list. Kent has begun jogging, but might not be ready for the March 31 opener. Neither has played since the first week of March.

Hu had an RBI single and a walk, but also was caught stealing third and popped up attempting a sacrifice bunt. Tony Abreu, previously expected to back up both positions, is letting the opportunity get away as he struggles to stay healthy. Abreu started at third on Friday and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Longshot candidate Ramon Martinez, a favorite of general manager Ned Colletti, had an RBI pinch-single. Rookie Blake DeWitt struck out in his only at-bat.

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