Yasiel Puig is going to Rancho Cucamonga as Dodgers announce travel roster.

Yasiel Puig has already been assigned to Double-A Chattanooga, but fans will get one more look at the rising prospect in a Dodgers uniform this month.

Puig was one of three outfielders listed on the travel roster, along with Carl Crawford and Alex Castellanos, for the Dodgers’ exhibition game against the Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at the Epicenter tomorrow night at 6 p.m.

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Forbes values Dodgers at $1.615 billion.

Dodgers logoThe Dodgers are still not worth as much as their purchase price, according to Forbes magazine’s latest MLB franchise valuations released Wednesday.

Forbes places the Dodgers’ value at $1.615 billion, less than the $2 million paid a year ago by Guggenheim Baseball Management but more than the $1.37 billion the franchise was valued at a year ago.

Among all MLB teams the Dodgers are second only to the Yankees, valued at $2.3 billion, and one of only four billion-dollar franchises along with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs.

Forbes’ list of values for all 30 teams can be found here.

Of the Dodgers, Forbes writes:
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Dodgers’ starting rotation watch drags into final week.

The Dodgers still have eight starters in camp, and all eight remain on a starter’s plan. Even Ted Lilly.

“We’ve had some conversations with guys, but at this point everyone is working as starters,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters in Glendale this afternoon. “Anything could happen. Until Opening Day we don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ve talked about the possibilities of it with guys just so psychologically guys could know where it sits. We’ve tried to prepare for that as much as possible.”

That the Dodgers are in no rush to get a look at Lilly, Chris Capuano or Aaron Harang as relievers is a strong indication that a trade or two (or three) will come soon.

Poll: Where should Yasiel Puig start the season?

We know what will happen. Barring something unforeseen, Yasiel Puig will be wearing a Chattanooga Lookouts uniform to begin the season.

But what should happen?

We’ve explored the pros and cons throughout spring training (examples here, here and here). Now it’s your turn to weigh in.

Dodgers option Yasiel Puig to Double-A, Dee Gordon to Triple-A.

Yasiel Puig

The spring training leader in batting average won’t begin the season in the majors. Or in Triple-A for that matter.

The Dodgers optioned Yasiel Puig, their most productive hitter since Cactus League play began, to Double-A Chattanooga, ending weeks of speculation about where the organization’s most intriguing prospect will begin his first full season outside Cuba.

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Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang still starting for Dodgers. What does that mean for Ted Lilly?

Chris Capuano

Dodgers pitcher Chris Capuano threw 85 pitches on a back field Monday against a team of Cleveland Indians minor leaguers. He went seven innings, allowing three hits, no runs, striking out 11 batters and hitting another with a pitch.

The performance came on the same day that the Dodgers’ coaches were expected to meet to discuss plans for the pitching staff. There’s still a surplus of three starters with one week left before opening day. Aaron Harang is listed as the starter tomorrow against the Rockies. Capuano stretched himself out today. The only one of the octet that isn’t starting a game anytime soon appears to be Ted Lilly.

Lilly, as we’ve noted repeatedly, was the first Dodgers starter to raise his hand when asked if he’d accept a bullpen role. It could be that this is the direction the team is leaning. We’ll learn more tomorrow.

Dodgers’ Carl Crawford is on track to play Opening Day. What does that mean for Yasiel Puig?

Yasiel Puig
Carl Crawford is playing his third straight game in left field tonight as the Dodgers visit the Kansas City Royals in Surprise.

The Dodgers didn’t want to pencil in Crawford as their Opening Day left fielder until he passed a threshhold for throwing distance, mentioned previously at 125 feet. He has passed that threshhold “and he’s still got five days of throwing,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly noted Monday. That’s great news for Crawford, who underwent Tommy John surgery just last August and was initially speculated to be out until May.

That’s not great news if you were hoping to see Yasiel Puig in left field come Opening Day.

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Dodgers coaches meeting tomorrow to discuss plans for pitching staff.

Chris Capuano

Don Mattingly said that the Dodgers’ coaching staff will meet tomorrow to discuss plans for their pitching staff. There appear to be two spots in the bullpen up for grabs, and the picture gained clarity when Mark Lowe was released this morning.

One topic that’s sure to be on the agenda: Which of the starting pitchers will become relievers?

The question has probably been answered within the organization. Now, with eight days left until Opening Day, the time has come to formally inform the Dodgers’ newest relief pitcher that he is the Dodgers’ newest relief pitcher.

“We’ll talk to those guys, make sure they can mentally start wrapping their arms around it, talk about ‘how would you like to work?’ … It’s nice to talk to the guys and get their arms wrapped around it so they can make the adjustment,” Mattingly said.

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Dodgers release Mark Lowe, bringing camp roster to 38.

Mark LoweThe Dodgers opened camp with three experienced right-handed relievers vying to make the team as non-roster invitees: Kevin Gregg, Peter Moylan and Mark Lowe.

They couldn’t all make the team. None still might, though the Dodgers have eventually given a roster spot to a non-roster camp invitee the last 11 years.

It won’t be Lowe, who was granted his release Sunday morning. Continue reading

Obscure MLB rule, bruised finger will dictate where Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley pitches March 28.

Updating our earlier item about Chad Billingsley‘s next start on March 28, the Dodgers haven’t determined where it will be.

It definitely won’t be in Anaheim. Manager Don Mattingly said Saturday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will start the “Freeway Series” opener against the Angels at 7 p.m.

There’s also a 6 p.m. split-squad exhibition game that night against the Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at The Epicenter. That would be the logical place for Billingsley to start, but it would cause a minor inconvenience if the Dodgers decide to put the right-hander on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised index finger when the regular season begins.

If Billingsley pitches in Rancho he wouldn’t be able to start his potential disabled list stint until March 29 because the exhibition game has a paid attendance. That’s an MLB rule. If the DL is still a possibility for him in four days, Billingsley would pitch in a game without a paid attendance, such as a simulated game at Camelback Ranch.

Billingsley wouldn’t be eligible to come off the DL until April 13 if he starts against the Quakes.

Even though he was able to pitch 4 2/3 pain-free innings Saturday, Billingsley didn’t throw a curveball because he can’t throw a curve without pain. Last year Billingsley threw curves on less than 3 percent of his pitches, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that Billingsley “is going to need to have all his weapons” by the time he makes his first start of the season. Right now, that’s scheduled for April 2. If Billingsley goes on the DL, Ryu will make the start instead.

Speaking of Ryu, here are the projected Freeway Series matchups:

Thursday (in Anaheim): Ryu vs. Joe Blanton
Friday (in Los Angeles): Josh Beckett vs. Jason Vargas
Saturday (in Anaheim): Zack Greinke vs. Tommy Hanson