Dodgers Spring Training 2012 Preview: Not Too Many Spots Up For Grabs

The Los Angeles Dodgers open spring training at their Camelback Ranch facility in Glendale, Arizona on Tuesday, February 21, when pitchers and catchers report to camp. Within a week, the full squad will be in camp and full workouts begin on February 28, roughly one week before Cactus League play begins.

The Dodgers head into camp with essentially 23 of the 25 opening day roster spots accounted for, with one bench spot and one bullpen spot open for spring battles. Here is a look at the roster locks, as we stand on February 16.

Lineup (8)

Dee Gordon SS
James Loney 1B
Matt Kemp CF
Andre Ethier RF
Juan Rivera LF
Juan Uribe 3B
Mark Ellis 2B
A.J. Ellis C

Bench (4)

Jerry Hairston, Jr. IF/OF
Tony Gwynn, Jr. OF
Adam Kennedy IF
Matt Treanor C

Jerry Sands is the intriguing candidate to make the final position player spot on the team, though if Sands makes the team it would likely be as the everyday left fielder, with Juan Rivera moving to a more reserve or platoon role, seeing time at left field, right field, and first base. Other candidates for the final position player spot include infielder Justin Sellers and former power-hitting prospect Josh Fields, now 29 years old.

Starting Pitchers (5)

Clayton Kershaw LHP
Chad Billingsley RHP
Ted Lilly LHP
Chris Capuano LHP
Aaron Harang RHP

Relief Pitchers (6)

Javy Guerra CL
Kenley Jansen RHP
Matt Guerrier RHP
Todd Coffey RHP
Mike MacDougal RHP
Scott Elbert LHP

The competition for the final bullpen spot figures to be between Blake Hawksworth, who is out of options, and Josh Lindblom, among players on the 40-man roster. Non-roster invitees Josh Grabow (LHP) and Jamey Wright (RHP) look like the favorites among those on minor-league deals.

Of course, this is all assuming good health, which even the most optimistic person would scoff at. Last year, the Dodgers had six starting pitchers signed to major league deals, but by March 9 both Vicente Padilla and Jon Garland went down with injuries.

The Dodgers open their Cactus League schedule on Monday, March 5 at Camelback Ranch with a "road" contest against their facility co-tenants, the Chicago White Sox.

For more news and notes on the Dodgers, be sure to read True Blue LA.

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