Dodgers Spring Training 2012: Blake Hakwsworth Will Open Season On Disabled List

Pitchers and catchers for the Los Angeles Dodgers reported to the club's spring training facility at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona on Tuesday, and for the most part the bullpen is set at six of the seven positions. One candidate for the final bullpen spot was Blake Hawksworth, who is expected to begin the season on the disabled list.

Hawksworth had arthroscopic surgery on January 11 to remove scar tissue in his right elbow, but manager Don Mattingly revealed on Tuesday that Hawksworth had an infection stemming from that surgery that required a second procedure on his elbow in January. As a result Hawksworth, who was expected to be ready to throw by the beginning of spring training per his original rehab plan, is now two to three weeks behind schedule, so by the time he is ready to throw he won't have enough time to get ready for the season.

Starting the season on the disabled list delays a decision for the Dodgers, as Hawksworth is out of options. The right-hander, acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals for second baseman Ryan Theriot in November 2010, put up a 4.08 ERA in 49 games for the Dodgers in 2011 with 17 walks and 43 strikeouts in 53 innings. It is a similar situation to that of Ronald Belisario, who must serve a 25-game suspension to start the year, meaning the Dodgers have about a month before deciding whether to keep him on the active roster or expose him to waivers.

For more Dodgers bullpen news, be sure to read True Blue LA.

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