When you can’t get onto the spring-training site, just improvise

That’s exactly what the Dodgers did today, holding a media session with Ned Colletti, Joe Torre and the coaches — although Rick Honeycutt was the only one anyone bothered to interview — in nearby Litchfield Park at the Wigwam Resort, a place about which one of my colleagues from another city said, “It’s so old, it was built when the Dead Sea was still sick.” It wasn’t terribly informative. Mostly it was national writers asking Joe about A-Rod and steroids. Joe’s book never came up while I was in the room, but I and several of my colleagues left the room along with Ned and the coaches so we could grab them out in the hall.
What we learned from Ned was that the search for an additional veteran reliever — a search that was believed to have been narrowed to free agents Dennys Reyes, Jamey Wright and Will Ohman — has been placed on hold for now due to all negotiations being at an impasse.
“I think some of the (minor-league free-agent) signings we have had the last couple of weeks … will give us numerous choices,” he said. “With the conversations we are having with major-league free-agent relievers, we are not prepared to go forward with that at this point.”
There also was some stuff about Manny, including the fact Joe actually spoke with him by phone this week, but there was nothing really interesting or new.
We also learned from Honeycutt that you can add Scott Elbert to the long list of guys who will begin spring training on a starter’s program and compete for the fifth spot in the rotation, but as with several guys on that list, he still could end up in the bullpen if he doesn’t end up in the minors.
Rick also said that while Jason Schmidt will begin camp on a scaled-back program that will eventually include some simulated games because he is still rehabbing, he’ll have plenty of time to get in position to compete for the fifth spot; and that Chad Billingsley is sufficiently recovered from his broken left leg to begin camp on the same throwing program as everyone else, but that he’ll initially be held back to some extent on fielding drills. Rick would NOT go so far as to name Billingsley — or anyone else — the opening-day starter.