Daily Distractions: Minor-league invitees, HGH testing, Marcus Thames, coffee.

Yesterday, a Dodgers spokesperson emailed to pass along three new names of players signed to minor-league contracts with invitations to major-league camp: Right-handed pitcher Matt Palmer, catcher Elizier Alfonzo and infielder Brian Barden.

The Dodgers have also invited RHP Juan Abreu, LHP Kelvin De La Cruz, RHP Greg Infante, C Wilkin Castillo, C Ramon Castro, INF Alfredo Amezaga, INF Brian Barden, INF Omar Luna, INF Ozzie Martinez, INF Dallas McPherson, INF/OF Nick Evans and OF Jeremy Moore.

Teams can invite as many non-roster players as they want to spring training but must trim their major-league roster to 25 by opening day, April 1.

Some more distractions …
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Ten Dodgers become free agents.

The Dodgers declined to exercise the 2013 club options on Todd Coffey, Juan Rivera and Matt Treanor.

They join another seven players who became free agents today: Brandon League, Shane Victorino, Randy Choate, Jamey Wright, Joe Blanton, Adam Kennedy and Bobby Abreu.

In other words, no big names or surprises for the Dodgers on the first day of free agency. Players can only sign with new teams beginning at 9 p.m. Friday. Between now and then, the Dodgers can re-sign any of their in-house free agents, and they’ve already opened discussions with League’s representatives.

General manager Ned Colletti said that he would like to bring back Choate and Wright, as well, to keep intact a bullpen that finished the 2012 season strong.

Coffey, Rivera and Treanor now fall into the category of Victorino, Kennedy and Abreu: highly unlikely to be on the roster next season.

Blanton is an interesting case. The Dodgers gave him what amounted to a 10-start audition in August and September. In five starts at home, the 31-year-old right-hander went 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA. Not bad. In five road starts he was 1-3, 6.51. Bad.

I guess that makes Blanton a “known quantity” for a team that is looking to add a starting pitcher. But looking at a free-agent market that now includes Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Ryan Dempster, Kyle Lohse  and Hiroki Kuroda (another “known quantity”), the Dodgers probably figure they can do better.

The hot stove is just warming up.

Notes on Ted Lilly, Cory Sullivan, Adam Kennedy, Stan Kasten.

The decision as to when Ted Lilly will make his first start of the season isn’t up to the veteran left-hander. But with two trainers, a manager, a pitching coach, three other starting pitchers and seven reporters looking on, Lilly made his pitch –pun intended– with an “intense” bullpen session Friday morning.

Lilly, who is recovering from a stiff neck, threw his full arsenal of pitches in a session at Camelback Ranch that lasted more than 10 minutes.

“I don’t feel any pain,” he said afterwards. “Maybe a little stiff but there’s nothing that’s grabbing me anymore. I feel like I can pretty much go through my normal delivery, make a normal throw.”

Lilly would likely throw a simulated game between now and next Saturday in San Diego if the team believes he is ready — a necessary step since he hasn’t pitched in a spring game since March 16.

“Normally I don’t throw that many in the bullpen, or I felt like my effort was maybe a little more intense than usual,” he said. “It’s been a while. I wanted to find out where it was. I threw a few (pitches) that were game speed.”

The alternative is that Lilly could be placed on the 15-day disabled list and Chris Capuano would start against the Padres next Saturday instead.

On the surface, it seems like a close call. Lilly was originally supposed to throw his bullpen session Thursday but the team pushed it back a day. Said Lilly, “I definitely feel quite a bit better today than yesterday even, yeah.”

Manager Don Mattingly could deliver the verdict after today’s split-squad game against the Brewers at Camelback.

A few more notes from this morning that may or may not make tomorrow’s editions:
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