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Poor Spring Delays Thurston

LOS ANGELES–The Dodgers want Joe Thurston to load up on starts and at-bats. That seemed more likely to happen in Glitter Gulch than Chavez Ravine.

So Joey Ballgame, as one of the more promising prospects in the organization is known, will not be the Dodgers’ everyday second baseman yet. As one of the team’s last cuts before Opening Day, Thurston was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Thurston has little else to prove in the minors. The two-time organization player of the year has excelled at each stop. He tore up the Pacific Coast League (.334-12-55) at Las Vegas last year while collecting a minor league-leading 196 hits.

The Dodgers gave the 23-year-old the opportunity to win the second-base job after Mark Grudzielanek was traded. But even a hot streak in the final stretch of spring training wasn’t enough. He hit .241-0-5 and went back to Las Vegas.

General manager Dan Evans was adamant that he hasn’t lost faith in Thurston.

"It’s a situation where if he’s not playing every day, it’s not in his or our best interest to have him on the 25-man roster," Evans said. "He’s not at the stage of his career where he should be anything less than a full-time player. We think there are some things in his game that he needs to refine. This is not failure on his part. He’s just not quite there yet."

One of Thurston’s final auditions with the Dodgers was at Cashman Field in Las Vegas in an exhibition against the Rockies. He went with the team to Southern California for the Freeway Series against Anaheim, but it wasn’t long before he headed back to Nevada.

Thurston hopes he won’t stay long.

L.A. Confidential

• Lefthander Steve Colyer was a pleasant surprise in spring training and made the Opening Day roster. He made his debut on Opening Day and gave up five hits and one run in 223 innings. He was sent down to Las Vegas a couple of days later.

• One of the organization’s top pitching prospects, Jonathan Figueroa, started the season on the disabled list at Class A Vero Beach. Figueroa went 7-3, 1.42 in two stops in his pro debut last season.

• Previous organization report: Organization Analysis

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