Five prospects added to 40-man roster

Five prospects added to 40-man roster

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Thursday still had no manager, but they added five of their finest prospects to the 40-man roster, protecting them from being taken at next month's Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings.

Those added were first baseman James Loney, third baseman Andy LaRoche, infielder Joel Guzman, right-handed pitcher Jose Diaz and left-handed pitcher Greg Miller.

Loney, a first-round draft pick in 2002, rebounded from an injury-plagued 2004 season to hit .284 with 11 homers, 31 doubles and 65 RBIs at Double-A Jacksonville. The 21-year-old carried that progress into the Arizona Fall League, where he hit five homers in 59 at-bats.

LaRoche, 22, was named the organization's position player of the year for hitting a combined 30 home runs with 94 RBIs splitting time between Class A Vero Beach and Jacksonville. Then he hit .352 in the Arizona Fall League.

Guzman, the 6-foot-6 shortstop who turns 21 later this month, spend the entire season at Jacksonville, where he hit .287 with 16 home runs, 31 doubles and 75 RBIs. He's currently playing the corner infield positions in the Dominican Republic.

Diaz is 21, 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, earning the nickname "Jumbo." Coming off Tommy John elbow reconstruction, he threw only 17 2/3 innings this year but was clocked at 99 mph.

Miller, considered one of the best left-handed pitching prospects in the game two years ago, is coming off a series of shoulder operations and was shut down in the Arizona Fall League with more discomfort, but it was diagnosed as minor and he is expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training with a lower arm slot. He made 19 appearances this year and just turned 21.

On the manager front, Lou Piniella and Jim Fregosi continue to be considered the front-runners on new general manager Ned Colletti's short list, although the club would not confirm contact was made with either.

Colletti headed to Florida on Thursday to attend the weekend wedding of former boss and San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean, but Piniella and Fregosi both live in Florida.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.