Dodgers' bullpen remains healthy but its makeup is uncertain

The Dodgers are still looking for left-handers to complement J.P. Howell. AP Photo/Morry Gash

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- About the only area of the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster not crushed by injuries was in the bullpen, where the gang has started to take shape.

Closer Kenley Jansen will anchor the relief corps, although some changes not anticipated are expected to take place.

Manager Dave Roberts said less than a week ago that he wanted to have two left-handers in the bullpen.

"I think that when you put a roster together, having two lefties is really a luxury in the sense that it seems like one lefty, and I have been on teams with one lefty, that guy gets abused," Roberts said. "He's up every night it seems like."

That comment came Saturday, but in four short days, Roberts has been forced to do a little backpedaling.

Left-hander Luis Avilan has struggled to an 11.57 ERA in nine Cactus League outings (seven innings), fellow lefty Adam Liberatore has already been optioned to the minor-league side and the chances of the Dodgers starting the season with a southpaw to complement J.P. Howell now seem slim.

Roberts' new strategy is to embrace all his right-handers have to offer.

"Even if we decide to go with one lefty, we're fortunate in the sense that we have right-handers, if you look at their splits, they get lefties out," Roberts said Wednesday morning. "That's a luxury to have and in no way do I plan on abusing anyone in the bullpen, let alone if there is just one lefty."

Right-handers that appear to be locks to make the bullpen behind Jansen are Chris Hatcher, Louis Coleman, Pedro Baez and Joe Blanton. Right-hander Yimi Garcia, who seemed to have been pushed out of the mix by Coleman's impressive spring, now could make the crew because of Avilan's struggles.

And depending on how Carlos Frias is viewed, he could end up being another member of the bullpen. Frias is in the mix to be the Dodgers' starting pitcher on April 8 at San Francisco, but if he is needed to be a long man before that, the start against the Giants could go to Zach Lee.

Frias would then continue to be the bullpen's long man, and possibly take the fifth spot the next time in rolls around again on the first homestand.

"You do want to go with your best relievers, so we will try to break camp with the best guys we've got," Roberts said.