Dodgers Have 40-Man Decisions To Make





LOS ANGELES General manager Ned Colletti heads into spring training with a lot of uncertainty. Is there enough depth in the bullpen? Who will start behind the plate? Will anyone grab the starting job in left field?

And answering those questions will go a long way toward solving Colletti's other riddle: What to do about the 11 players on the 40-man roster who are out of options?

If Colletti can't find a place for the likes of Blake Hawksworth, Hector Gimenez, Ronald Belisario and Xavier Paul on the major league team, he runs the risk of losing them to another organization.

"You have to be sure that you're making the right decision," he said. "What you've seen in the past is part of it. (And) where they're at right here, right now. Because you know there's a chance that somebody else will find him more intriguing than you do if they can't make your club."

Among the decisions that figure to be the most difficult for Colletti may be the ones involving Hawksworth, acquired from the Cardinals in November for infielder Ryan Theriot, and Paul, a .291/.360/.449 career hitter in eight minor league seasons.

St. Louis gave up on Hawksworth, who turns 28 on March 1, after watching him struggle to a 35-39, 4.01 record in eight minor league seasons. And though Paul, 26, has thrived in the minors—he hit better than .315 in Triple-A each of the last three seasons—the Dodgers have been able to get him just 135 at-bats in the majors.

"Hawk has some versatility. He could be a spot starter or a long guy out of your bullpen," Dodgers assistant GM De Jon Watson said. "And X Paul, he plays all three outfield positions and he'll come in and battle for an opportunity to win the left field job."

However it shakes out there won't be enough room for everyone, which puts the pressure back on Colletti.

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL

• The Dodgers got a closer look at Hawksworth and prospects Rubby De La Rosa and Chris Winthrow, during their "Young Guns" minicamp in Arizona in late January. Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley were among the major leaguers who attended the voluntary workouts.

• Despite having veterans Jamey Carroll, Juan Castro and Juan Uribe in camp, the Dodgers intend to give versatile prospect Ivan DeJesus a chance to win a big league job.