Dodgers tie Oakland, trim camp roster by five.

Matt Magill

Pitcher Matt Magill was optioned to the minors on Monday, one of five players cut from the Dodgers’ major-league camp roster. (Associated Press photo)

The Dodgers trimmed their camp roster by five after tying the Oakland A’s on Monday.

There were no surprises on the list: Pitcher Matt Magill was optioned to the minor-league side, and non-roster invitees J.C. Boscan, Carlos Frias, Brendan Harris and Clint Robinson were reassigned to the minor-league side.

Magill, the only player of the group on the 40-man roster, pitched 5 ⅔ innings, allowing three hits, one run, walking two and striking out six. The only run came on a solo home run March 5 by Cincinnati Reds prospect Neftali Soto. Magill, a 24-year-old right-hander from Simi Valley, was not a candidate to make the major-league rotation.

Of the four non-roster invitees, Harris had the most realistic chance of earning a major-league roster spot, if only because of the Dodgers’ needs on the bench and at second base. He needed a good camp to prove that he was not the same player who registered -2.3 WAR (baseball-reference.com version) since 2009. Harris didn’t have a good camp. He batted 3 for 19 (.158) with three walks.

Boscan, a 34-year-old catcher with 30 major-league plate appearances to his credit, went 1 for 4 with a pair of walks.

Frias made four Cactus League appearances and allowed five runs, including three Monday without recording an out in the Dodgers’ 8-8 tie. The 24-year-old right-hander advanced as high as Double-A last year and could earn a promotion to Triple-A at some point this season.

The 29-year-old Robinson showed why the Dodgers signed him to a minor-league deal in the off-season, batting .348 (11 for 23) with a solo home run. Robinson batted .292 at Triple-A Omaha last year and is expected to start at first base this year for Triple-A Albuquerque.

The Dodgers have 41 players on their camp roster, not including pitcher Scott Elbert (on the 60-day disabled list) and infielder Erisbel Arruebarruena, who is still awaiting his U.S. work visa. The roster must be down to 28 — 25 players who are eligible to play the two games in Sydney, Australia, plus another three designated as inactive — by 7 p.m. March 21.

Venezuelan protests affecting family of Dodgers catcher J.C. Boscan.

J.C. Boscan

Catcher J.C. Boscan, a non-roster invitee in Dodgers camp, said his parents have been deeply affected by the food shortage in their native Venezuela. (Wikipedia image)


GLENDALE, Ariz. — Earlier this week, Miguel Rojas spoke at length about his concerns for his wife and family back in Venezuela. The 24-year-old minor leaguer received an invitation to the Dodgers’ major-league camp for the first time this year. While he’s trying to focus on baseball, his attention is justifiably divided by the ongoing protests in Venezuela.

Rojas isn’t alone. There were 94 Venezuelan-born players on major-league rosters last year, according to baseball-reference.com. Many more are in spring training on minor-league rosters and major-league coaching staffs, such as Detroit Tigers first base coach Omar Vizquel.

The Tigers’ Venezuelan contingent recently took to Twitter to show their support for their homeland; at least five other teams have done the same thing since. FoxSports.com spoke with a number of Venezuelan natives attending the San Francisco Giants’ camp. That’s a good read if you can spare 5-10 minutes.

Earlier today, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro reportedly blamed major-league owners for pressuring Venezuelan players to show their support. The Dodgers only have two Venezuelan natives in camp: Rojas and 34-year-old catcher J.C. Boscan, also a non-roster invitee. Neither has been pressured by Dodgers ownership to give an interview.

Boscan shared his concerns Saturday.
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Daily Distractions: What Derek Jeter taught a 22-year-old Hanley Ramirez.

Hanley Ramirez

Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez (left) participates in the first pitcher/infield drill of spring training. He considers retiring Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter his idol. (@jphoornstra on Twitter)

Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez learned many lessons in his rookie season with the Florida Marlins. One was a lesson in leadership.

“Don’t let my teammates down. Where I go, they go,” Ramirez recalled. “I’ve got to be their leader, keep my head up and play hard. Be a leader on and off the field.”

The message came directly from no higher authority than Derek Jeter, who knows a thing or two about leadership and is “pretty close” to Jesus.

So it was that Ramirez took on a leadership role with the Marlins early in his career. He was only 22, working on an eventual Rookie of the Year campaign, when he met Jeter during a series against the Yankees in June 2006.

When the Yankees’ shortstop announced his retirement Wednesday, Ramirez wrote an unusually candid tweet:

Why is Jeter Ramirez’s idol?

“Because he has respect for the game on and off the field, and how much dedication he’s put into the games,” Ramirez said. “We’re going to miss him in the game. Nobody I think can replace him.”

And not many players can get through to Ramirez like Jeter.

Some bullet points for Valentine’s Day:
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