With just a few hours before kicking off the MLB regular season, in Australia of all places, the Los Angeles Dodgers have announced their finalized line up for Opening Day. The first game of their season will be played at the Sydney Cricket Grounds with a 1am Pacific start time.
First off, the team reassigned several minor leaguers, this was the most expected move of the day. It leaves Zach Lee, Joc Pederson and Miguel Rojas down in the minors. The Dodgers also optioned Tim Federowicz to the minors in one of the suprising roster decisions of the day.
That leaves Drew Butera in the majors as the team's primary backup catcher. Federowicz was the backup in 2013 and figured to be for 2014 as well. The reason this move was made is because Butera is out of options and can not be put back in the minors without his permission, or else he will be released.
Federowicz figures to make his way back to Los Angeles at some point in the season, and could eventually lead to Butera being designated for assignment.
Another small surprise was keeping Alex Guerrero on the roster. Many expected that he might start the season in the minors after a rough spring.
He will not be starting in the opener since Michael Turner got the opening day nod, but it shows that the team believes in his ability to play immediately at the Major League level.
All the other roster moves concern players that did not make the trip to Australia for other reasons.
Due to the nature of the trip the Dodgers were allowed to leave players in Arizona on the Exempt List. Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Brandon League have all stayed behind and are pitching in minor league Spring Training games. Carl Crawford also missed the trip voluntarily as he took paternity leave for the birth of his baby.
Meanwhile, Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett were placed on the Disabled List. The earliest they can be activated is April 4 against the Giants. Scott Elbert and Onelki Garcia also occupy the Disabled List, but in the 60-day slots.
Before the Dodgers domestic opener in San Diego there are bound to be more changes considering the Exempt List and Crawford's paternity leave.
After the season opener--at 1am Pacific Time Saturday-- the Dodgers will be back in action at 7pm Pacific Time Saturday. The games will be broadcast on the MLB Channel throughout the nation, except for Los Angeles where it will only be shown on SportsNet LA and is only carried by Time Warner and a couple other minor cable providers.