Dodgers' roster surprises: 3 catchers, no Wood

Dodgers' roster surprises: 3 catchers, no Wood

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed his team's roster for the National League Division Series when he addressed the media on Tuesday, and he offered a few surprises.

The Dodgers will carry three catchers against the Nationals, with Yasmani Grandal starting and the backups working in flexible roles. Carlos Ruiz will see plenty of time as one of the team's top right-handed bats off the bench, and versatile rookie Austin Barnes figures to fill in behind the plate, on the basepaths or in the infield.

"[Barnes'] versatility certainly plays into it,'" President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman said. "He's got some foot speed, especially relative to catchers, but also it frees up [Ruiz]. It frees him up for potential big spots against left-handed relievers. It just felt like overall it helped complete our roster."

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One of the more surprising exclusions from the roster was left-hander Alex Wood, who looked excellent in September after returning from elbow debridement surgery. The Dodgers will instead carry two other left-handers in the bullpen with Luis Avilan, who was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City eight times this season, behind rookie Grant Dayton.

"The specifics of their hitters, we just feel [Avilan] matches up really well against them," Friedman said. "He's pitched really well this year, handled the adversity of being optioned. Going up and going back down, what he's worked on early in the year has put him in the position to have the success he's had more recently."

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 7 LAD 4, WAS 3 video
Gm 2 Oct. 9 WSH 5, LAD 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 10 WAS 8, LAD 3 video
Gm 4 Oct. 11 LAD 6, WAS 5 video
Gm 5 Oct. 13 LAD 4, WSH 3 video

Twenty-year-old left-hander Julio Urias is in line to start Game 4 behind Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda. Urias threw five simulated innings on Tuesday, but Roberts acknowledged that Kershaw starting on short rest remains a possibility. Kershaw missed more than two months with a herniated disk during the season, but he holds a 1.29 ERA since returning and reached seven innings in both of his last two starts of the regular season.

"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it," Roberts said. "With Clayton, he's gone on short rest before. For us, we know he's going to pitch Game 1 and outside of that, we'll make that decision going forward."

Kiké Hernandez didn't make the roster despite getting regular starts against left-handed starting pitchers this season. The team decided to go with the hotter bat in Charlie Culberson for a utility spot. Hernandez will instead travel to Arizona to stay prepared, as Roberts said he would be a possibility for an NL Championship Series roster. He will be joined by most of the non-roster players.

Three of the non-roster players -- Wood, Rob Segedin and J.P. Howell -- will travel to D.C. as part of the team's taxi squad.

The Dodgers' full NLDS roster is as follows:

Infielders: Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Utley, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Culberson

Outfielders: Josh Reddick, Joc Pederson, Howie Kendrick, Yasiel Puig, Andrew Toles, Andre Ethier

Catchers: Grandal, Ruiz, Barnes

Starting pitchers: Kershaw, Hill, Maeda, Urias

Relievers: Kenley Jansen, Joe Blanton, Pedro Baez, Josh Fields, Ross Stripling, Dayton, Avilan

Jack Baer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.