The Dodgers will carry seven relief pitchers on their Opening Day roster, with the final spot belonging either to right-hander Louis Coleman or left-hander Luis Avilan, manager Dave Roberts said Friday.
Coleman has had a superlative spring, allowing two runs in 11 innings while walking none and striking out 12. He can’t be optioned to the minor leagues.
Avilan can be optioned and he’s had a rougher Cactus League statistically, with nine earned runs allowed in seven innings (an 11.57 ERA). Opponents have hit .415 against him.
So, what’s the case for Avilan?
“To have two lefties in the bullpen is a luxury,” Roberts said.
J.P. Howell is the Dodgers’ other left-handed reliever. He’s guaranteed a roster spot, but Roberts doesn’t want to over-rely on Howell, who’s made 67, 68 and 65 appearances the last three seasons respectively. Howell turns 33 on April 25 and has typically faded in September in recent years.
“If that’s the direction we go, I feel good about it,” Roberts said.
Opening Day rosters must be set by 9 a.m. Pacific Time Sunday.