There’s a lot of small pitching items going on in the worldwide camp that is Dodgers spring training right now, so to recap quickly…
- Hong-Chih Kuo was scratched from his Taiwain appearance with a sore left elbow (uh-oh).
- Rule 5 pick Carlos Monasterios is impressing, having thrown 5 shutout innings… despite not knowing what the Rule 5 draft is.
- James McDonald is getting beat up, having allowed 6 runs in 8 hits over just 4 innings. More disturbingly, he’s walked 3 while striking out just 1. I’m fine with all the standard “spring training stats don’t count, and either way it’s still early” disclaimers… except that it’s one thing to give up a spring training homer, and it’s another to allow a dinger to Scott Podsednik. McDonald may be pitching himself right out of the 5th starter job, though he’d almost certainly end up in the ‘pen.
- Both of the undead Ortiz’ (Russ and Ramon) are making cases for jobs, as they’ve put up identical lines of allowing 3 hits over 5 scoreless innings.
Yet despite all that pitching staff minutiae, one story that seems to be a little forgotten is Ronnie Belliard’s battle with weight. As you might remember, his contract only becomes guaranteed if he gets down to 209 pounds at some point during the spring. Since he claimed he was at 210 when he reported, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion, but according to Dylan Hernandez on Twitter, it still hasn’t happened yet:
Still hasn’t made weight, from what I understand. @MikeSciosciasTI Any news on Ronnie Belliard’s weigh-in/guaranteed contract?
Part of me wonders: do we even want him to? Blake DeWitt seems all but certain to win the second base job. Belliard’s presence (combined with Jamey Carroll) was mostly to have two options in case DeWitt flopped – but if he doesn’t, Belliard could be a little redundant, as I said when he was signed:
Except… isn’t this exactly what Jamey Carroll was for? You know, a mediocre veteran who can play some 2nd and 3rd as needed? Because Belliard can’t play shortstop any more than Carroll can, and it was that “lack of a shortstop” issue that led to Nick Green getting a spring training invite.
So if this isn’t to fill that backup shortstop hole (since Belliard can’t do it) and it isn’t to be the 2B/3B backup bat off the bench (since that’s ostensibly what Carroll’s here for), what the hell is Belliard’s role?
With the roster crunch the Dodgers are facing in terms of difficulties with having a lefty bat and a backup shortstop, having two guys who do basically the same thing seems like it may be a luxury they can’t afford.