Saturday, March 08, 2008

Abreu's Ass a Symbol for Dodgers' 2008 Season?

Apparently Tony Abreu has a tight butt—and he's injured too. Heyo! But seriously, if spring training injuries tell us more about a team's state than do spring training stats, then the Dodgers may be fielding a record number of different starting lineups in 2008.

For all the controversy surrounding the Dodgers' starting outfield, it's the only portion of the roster which boasts both health and depth. Meanwhile, almost every infield position has current or recent health issues. Russell Martin was overplayed last year, but isn't that likely to happen again with Gary Bennett as his backup? Do we really believe that a tight hamstring is the only ailment Jeff Kent will experience this season? Rafael Furcal is supposedly healthy at short, but he's also a winter ball regular and therefore less rested. The Dodgers' third base disaster has already been well documented; when the third guy on the depth chart isn't completely healthy, you can expect to see less-familiar names in the lineup.

While the first four slots in the Dodgers' starting rotation seem solid, the lack of an obvious number-five starter emphasizes how shorthanded the team will be if a starter goes down. (Even if Clayton Kershaw gets called up, don't look for him to contribute a significant number of starts if the team knows what's good for him.) The Dodgers may not need to make a trade until April, but the injuries of the past few days have already added a sense of desperation to the anticipation of watching our beloved youngsters start a full season together.