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Dodgers option lefties Stults, Miller

Dodgers option Stults, Miller

PHOENIX -- With the Florida and China squads reunited on Wednesday, the Dodgers trimmed two pitchers, optioning left-handers Eric Stults and Greg Miller.

The Dodgers did not officially make a move with reliever Yhency Brazoban, but they did leave him in Vero Beach, Fla., when they headed to Phoenix, where they resume their exhibition schedule this week. Brazoban needs innings to build arm strength after shoulder surgery, and the club wants him to shed about 25 pounds.

Stults had hoped to compete for the fifth-starter job. Manager Joe Torre, however, has indicated that the job will go to either Esteban Loaiza or Chan Ho Park, buying time for the eventual arrival of phenom Clayton Kershaw, who turned 20 on Wednesday.

Kershaw continues to train with the Major League club, although he is expected to start the season in the Minor Leagues. A first-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, Kershaw pitched only 122 innings last year. If he started the season in the Major League rotation, he might be required to throw as many as 200 innings, and there is a fear of burning him out. In the Minor Leagues, his innings could be more easily limited.

"If he's part of the big league club, we'd need to resolve in our minds about giving him regular work, and that's unfair to him and unfair to us," said Torre. "Can he help us? My guess is, if you polled everybody, the response would be positive. But how many innings can he pitch?"

Torre was briefed by pitching coach Rick Honeycutt on Tuesday night. Torre said Park would start on Friday in Tucson, Arizona, against the D-backs, pushing Derek Lowe back a day and nudging Chad Billingsley into a simulated game. Park has not allowed an earned run this spring and has unexpectedly forced his way into the picture for a roster spot.

Wednesday's practice was held at the Oakland A's picturesque Minor League complex, with half of the Dodgers working on Tony La Russa Field, and the other half on Dick Williams Field. On Thursday, the Dodgers play their first Cactus League game at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, hosting the White Sox.

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

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