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MLB Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers Face Questions With Key Injured Players For Spring Training

Chad Billingsley

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the top favorites to win the 2014 World Series. In order to do that, the Dodgers need some key players to get healthy and produce at a high level. Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett and Scott Elbert are all capable of producing for Los Angeles, but they are currently dealing with injures. Could some or all of these players be ready by Spring Training?

The Dodgers have a solid rotation with the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but there are question marks surrounding the final two members of said rotation. Recently signed Dan Haren is penciled in as one of the final two starters to be put into the rotation. Beckett is currently slated to return by Spring Training, so he’ll likely be given the final spot in the rotation by default. However, I wouldn’t say that is a guarantee.

The Dodgers are in the mix to sign Masahiro Tanaka which will make the starting rotation more cluttered than it already is. Billingsley is expected to be ready by June, so where does he fit in when he finally returns? Don Mattingly certainly has his hands full with finding spots for all of the possible starters to pitch.

Elbert will be joining the Dodgers’ bullpen sometime around July which would give Los Angeles a third left-handed reliever capable of producing solid numbers. I’m sure something will occur where he will get traded due to the logjam of left-handed pitchers. Either that will happen, or the Dodgers will stick with all three lefties in their bullpen; you can’t go wrong either way if you’re the Dodgers.

Everyone is aware of the Dodgers’ outfield depth. Kemp is expected to be ready by Spring Training which will likely move Andre Ethier to the bench as a very solid fourth outfielder. However, with Kemp’s recent history of injuries, Ethier may not be a bench player for long.

Los Angeles has enough depth for the time being to manage without these four players, but when these guys return to the lineup, rotation and bullpen, the Dodgers will be even better than they already are.

Michael Pidgeon is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for Rant Sports.com: “Like” him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter @1AndOnlyPidgeon, add him to your network on Google or e-mail him at black24mamba@aol.com