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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Dodgers 1, Angels 1 (6).

Less than a half-hour after the final out, the sun was shining brightly over Camelback Ranch. But by then the fans were gone, players were changing into street clothes, and the final score — the Dodgers’ fourth tie of the Cactus League season (8-4-4) — seemed an insignificant afterthought. At least, no one in the press corps seemed bothered by the managers’ decision to end Sunday’s game after five and a half innings.

“We don’t want to sit out there and try to fight weather all day long after being here all day,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “The guys who needed work got their work, I’m happy with going home, to be honest with you.”

The actual game recap is a brief one:

The Angels’ Kole Calhoun scored in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Mark Trumbo. Juan Uribe singled in Adam Kennedy for the Dodgers’ only run in the fifth. Both starting pitchers, Chris Capuano and Anaheim’s Dan Haren, allowed a mere two hits. John Grabow and Mike MacDougal worked one scoreless inning each out of the Dodgers’ bullpen.

After MacDougal’s last pitch, rain (and later hail) began to pelt the field hard enough that a tarp was rolled over the infield 1 hour and 16 minutes after first pitch.

The only semblance of drama for the Dodgers on this day took place before and after the game, when the second round of roster cuts was announced. Four players left the room in the morning, and catcher Gorman Erickson, catcher Matt Wallach, infielder Lance Zawadzki and first baseman Jeff Baisley were re-assigned to the minor league camp. More on that in tomorrow’s editions.

A few more notes:

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Dodgers 6, White Sox 4.

Scott Van Slyke’s two-run home run highlighted a five-run sixth inning that lifted the Dodgers to a win in their exhibition opener. [MLB.com box score]

The Dodgers’ first home run of the spring cleared the left-field bullpen — a no-doubter — and completed a cycle for the team in the inning. Tony Gwynn Jr. (single), Justin Sellers (double), Ivan DeJesus (triple) all scored runs in the inning. Coincidentally, all of them, including Van Slyke, are the sons of former major league players.

Ten different Dodgers collected hits, and Chad Billingsley’s two scoreless innings will be the focus of tomorrow’s notebook. A couple other tidbits that won’t make tomorrow’s editions:
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