Carlos Monasterios optioned to minors

Updated: March 14, 2011, 1:12 PM ET
By Tony Jackson | ESPNNewYork.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Carlos Monasterios, who spent all of last season in the majors despite having almost no previous experience above Single-A, was one of two spring-training roster cuts the Los Angeles Dodgers made on Monday morning.

Monasterios, who remains on the club's 40-man roster and still is among their top pitching prospects, was optioned to minor league camp. Left-hander Wilkin De La Rosa, who is not, was reassigned to the minor league side.

"Monty threw the ball good," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He is getting better. There are a lot of little things we want Monty to keep working on. Basically, it's being able to handle stuff on the mound, fielding ... and controlling the running game."

Monasterios went 3-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 13 starts and 19 relief appearances for the Dodgers last season after they technically acquired him in a trade with the New York Mets, who as a courtesy to the Dodgers had claimed Monasterios from the Philadelphia Phillies with their higher pick in the Rule 5 draft in December 2009.

Rule 5 selections must be kept on the 25-man roster the entire season or be offered back to their previous clubs, and the Dodgers chose to ride out the anticipated growing pains with Monasterios, who will turn 25 next week. But with a year having passed since they acquired him, the Dodgers now are free to do as they please with Monasterios, and while he remains one of their top pitching prospects, he clearly needs more minor league seasoning.

Monasterios pitched two scoreless innings against a Chicago Cubs split squad on Sunday in Las Vegas, allowing only a pair of singles to Starlin Castro and former teammate Blake DeWitt, but he finished the spring with a 6.75 ERA in five Cactus League appearances. Four of the six earned runs he allowed came in a single inning against the San Francisco Giants on Feb. 26.

In reality, though, Monasterios had little chance of making the club even before spring training began because of his lack of experience and the large number of competitors for what probably won't be more than three open spots in the bullpen.

Mattingly said Monasterios will be a starting pitcher for whichever affiliate he begins the season with -- probably Triple-A Albuquerque -- so that the Dodgers will have the option of using him as either a starter or a reliever if they bring him back to the majors.

De La Rosa, 26, had spent his entire career in the Yankees organization -- never making it higher than Double-A Trenton, where he spent the past season and a half -- before becoming a minor league free agent this winter and signing with the Dodgers. He performed decently in five Cactus League appearances, allowing three earned runs on six hits over seven innings, but like Monasterios, he didn't have a strong chance of making the club.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Tony Jackson

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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