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Mientkiewicz returns as LA tweaks roster

Mientkiewicz returns; LA tweaks roster

LOS ANGELES -- The manipulation of the Dodgers' roster continued Wednesday with pinch-hitter Jim Thome's arrival, the activation of utilityman Doug Mientkiewicz, the outright assignment of right-hander Jesus Castillo and the dispatching of pitching prospect Victor Garate to the Washington Nationals as the remaining player to be named in the Ronnie Belliard trade.

When the dust settled, the Dodgers' 40-man roster stood at 40, Tony Abreu was a day away from clearing waivers and being sent to the D-backs as the player to be named in the Jon Garland trade and reliever Will Ohman -- still on the 60-day disabled list but saying he's healthy -- was still wondering what would happen to him.

"We're still talking that through," manager Joe Torre said, knowing he has three left-handed relievers in his bullpen -- George Sherrill, Hong-Chih Kuo and Tuesday callup Scott Elbert, who let a 3-1 lead get away Tuesday night.

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The Dodgers have 31 active players, and Torre said a few more would be arriving from Triple-A Albuquerque in the coming days. Among the most likely candidates are infielders Blake DeWitt and Chin-lung Hu and pitchers Cory Wade and Eric Stults.

For the umpteenth time in the past two days, Torre said that Thome will be a pinch-hitter and only a pinch-hitter, not a first baseman or third baseman or any other defensive position.

But Mientkiewicz insisted he can play first base, in spite of a surgically repaired shoulder that limits his throwing.

"I know my ability at first base and I'll take me at one arm over a lot of guys with two," he said. "If I do well or I don't do well, it won't be because of my shoulder."

After making the club as a long shot out of Spring Training, Mientkiewicz said he wouldn't be surprised to make a postseason roster.

"I've always felt that I'm better built for a three-week tournament than 162," he said.

Torre started Belliard at third base Wednesday night to give Casey Blake a night off. Belliard's acquisition made Abreu expendable, at least for what's left of this year, as both play third base, shortstop and second base.

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

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