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Dodgers Talking to Bard

The Dodgers are talking to journeyman catcher Josh Bard about a Minor League contract, but no deal is in place and are also considering other free agent catchers. A.J. Ellis has been named the Dodgers starter with free agent Matt Treanor signed to back up, but Bard would provide depth and competition in Spring Training. The Dodgers acquired Tim Federowicz from Boston in the Trayvon Robinson trade last summer with the hope he’d be ready for 2012, but manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday that off a September callup he felt Federowicz was “young and didn’t have enough time yet to be here.” Bard, 34 next Spring, played only 26 games in the Major Leagues with Seattle last year and hit .210. His best season was 2006 when he hit .333 with nine home runs in 100 games. — Ken Gurnick

Colletti Seeks Trade for a Bat

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said his trade talks at the Winter Meetings have focused on adding a hitter, with one he has in mind that would be “payroll neutral” and has been a starting position player. He said he didn’t expect a deal to be completed before the Meetings break Thursday. — Ken Gurnick

Dodgers Close on Harang

The Dodgers are close to a two-year deal with right-handed pitcher Aaron Harang, but the club has not confirmed it’s done. Harang would join Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly and Chris Capuano in the starting rotation. All pitched at least 170 innings in 2011. All but Kershaw would be signed through at least 2013. — Ken Gurnick

Dodgers Sign Hairston Jr.; Working on Harang

The Dodgers signed utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. to a two-year, $6 million deal Monday and are working toward another two-year deal with right-handed starting pitcher Aaron Harang. General manager Ned Colletti has been pursuing Hairston for two years and the desire increased after Jamey Carroll left the club for Minnesota last month. Hairston can play all over, which includes shortstop, and Colletti wants veteran protection there with only rookie starter Dee Gordon and rookie backup Justin Sellers on the depth chart. Harang would join a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly and Chris Capuano. — Ken Gurnick

Dodgers Lose Hoffmann to Rockies

The division-rival Rockies claimed outfielder Jamie Hoffmann off waivers from the Dodgers Monday. The 27-year-old Hoffmann has spent most of the last three seasons at Triple-A. He had brief call-ups of 14 games in 2009 and two games in 2011. He has a .290 Minor League career batting average. — Ken Gurnick

Dodgers Talking to Harang, Hairston Jr.

The Dodgers are working toward deals with right-handed pitcher Aaron Harang and utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr., according to a baseball source. The Dodgers signed lefty Chris Capuano to a backloaded two-year, $10 million deal last week and Harang is believed seeking more than that after going 14-7 with a 3.64 ERA for San Diego. The thinking is that the club could wind up with Capuano and Harang for roughly the $12 million in 2012 salary that they paid Hiroki Kuroda in 2011. The Dodgers have had interest in Harang for several years. With Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly already in the rotation, the additions of Capuano and Harang would give the Dodgers five starters with at least 170 Major League innings last year, although it would appear to block the path of promising rookie Nathan Eovaldi. General manager Ned Colletti has been pursuing Hairston for two years and the desire increased after Jamey Carroll left the club for Minnesota. Hairston can play all over, but that includes shortstop, and Colletti wants veteran protection with only rookie starter Dee Gordon and rookie backup Justin Sellers on the depth chart.  Hairston split 2011 between Washington and Milwaukee, hitting .270. He played all over the field, but only two games at shortstop. — Ken Gurnick

Dodgers NRI Signings

The Dodgers have signed four non-roster players with invitations to Major League Spring Training, and are close to adding a fifth. The four signed are: Jose Ascanio, a right-handed relief pitcher; Jeff Baisley, a corner infielder; Wil Ledezma, a left-handed reliever; and Shane Lindsay, a right-handed reliever.

A tentative agreement has been reached with left-handed reliever Alberto Castillo, a 35-year-old from Cuba who had a 2.31 ERA in 17 games in 2011 for the Diamondbacks, his eighth organization. He missed the month of August with shoulder tendinitis. Ledezma and Castillo could compete to replace Hong-Chih Kuo as a lefty in the bullpen to go with Scott Elbert.

– Ken Gurnick

 

Dodgers, Kershaw Talked Extension

The Dodgers have asked representatives of Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw if they had interest in a contract extension, a baseball source confirmed, but no serious talks have taken place, according to an ESPN report. Kershaw is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time after making $500,000 this year and could earn upwards of $8 million through a hearing. General manager Ned Colletti has previously downplayed the chances of a long-term deal with Kershaw at this time because, from the club’s standpoint, it would need to buy up some years of free agency. That would necessitate it being for longer than three years, which raises the injury risk, particularly for a pitcher. The Dodgers gave MVP runner-up Matt Kemp an eight-year, $160 million contract extension last month, but Kemp was only one year away from free agency. Kershaw turns 24 in March. — Ken Gurnick

Belisario Working on Visa Again

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti confirmed that wayward reliever Ronald Belisario has been working with government officials to resolve visa issues so he can pitch again for the Dodgers after missing the 2011 season. Belisario was a mainstay as a rookie in 2009, but has had visa a drug issues since. — Ken Gurnick

Kuroda Undecided; Dodgers Talk Harang

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said not only must Hiroki Kuroda decide if he wants to pitch another year for the Dodgers, but the Dodgers must decide if they can fit him into their reduced payroll. Kuroda earned $12 million in 2011 and had his best season as a Dodger. Free agent Aaron Harang is one obvious Plan B for Colletti, who met with the right-hander’s agent Wednesday. Colletti nearly traded for Harang two years ago. — Ken Gurnick

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