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Dodgers reliever Yimi Garcia making his case for a roster spot

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- So far, the Los Angeles Dodgers' bullpen -- the team's biggest trouble spot for much of 2014 -- has been a generally depressing story line in spring training. Closer Kenley Jansen will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list and it looks like Brandon League will join him there.

J.P. Howell, perhaps the only bankable pitcher healthy, has a 7.94 ERA. Sergio Santos and Dustin McGowan, two of the new guys, didn't look particularly sharp Wednesday.

But one young pitcher, Yimi Garcia, has continued to build on a foundation he started on last September. The odds may have been stacked against Garcia when he got here since other pitchers have hard-to-maneuver contracts or are out of options, but he now looks like a good bet to make the Opening Day roster. That's what seven scoreless outings -- and a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio -- will do for you.

Garcia, whose first name is pronounced like the English name Jimmy, isn't overpowering. He said he's happy if his fastball is in the 93-to-94 mph range, but he has been hard for Cactus League hitters to get a handle on. Garcia pitched well for the Dodgers in low-stress situations last September, pitching to a 1.80 ERA in eight games.

"Yimi just kind of keeps doing what he's been doing and, obviously, pretty impressive," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

Asked if Garcia would get serious consideration to make the team, Mattingly pointed out that Garcia hasn't yet been cut to minor-league camp.

"He's still here," Mattingly said. "Obviously, if you're not on the other side, in the barracks over there, you still have a shot."

Garcia, 24, said his fastball, slider and changeup have been working well for him so far. He laughed when he was asked if he thinks he can make the team.

"In my mind, yes, but I don't have control," Garcia said.