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Who's on second for the Dodgers?

Ronnie One spot is open.

That’s it for the Dodgers when they open camp Saturday. Only one daily spot in the lineup needs to be decided.

While they may go through every arm this side of Phil Niekro to decide a fifth starter, the only regular position spot open is second base.

Otherwise it doesn’t figure as Suspense City for the Dodgers this spring. Their roster returns remarkably intact, particularly the roster they ended the season with.

And if you are to go by the way Manager Joe Torre finished the season, the incumbent at second is Ronnie Belliard.

Even though the Dodgers have talked of giving Blake DeWitt every opportunity, even though they signed free agent infielder Jamey Carroll much earlier and said he would split time with DeWitt, it is Belliard who will likely open the spring with the inside track. Providing he hasn’t gone all pudge ball on us.

Certainly, it would be great if DeWitt put together a spectacular spring and outright won the job.  He’s young (24); he’s homegrown; he's theoretically the future.

The Dodgers did not do DeWitt any favors last year, bringing him up and down from the minors a half-dozen times. That makes it difficult to place much validity on last year’s .204 batting average. Still, it wasn’t like he was making a case for himself in the minors hitting .256.

He certainly looked better initially when called up in 2008 as a third baseman. If he doesn’t step up this spring, he will likely return to Triple-A where he can play every day.

So if DeWitt doesn’t stake a claim on second, Belliard and Carroll could battle for the start, or end up splitting time.

Belliard would add some power to the lineup. He had five home runs and 17 RBI in his 24 games after his Aug. 31 trade to the Dodgers. He beat out Orlando Hudson late in the season and started in the playoffs.

But he turns 35 the first week of the season and his days of being an everyday player on probably behind him. So even if he wins the spot, Carroll could get a reasonable amount of playing time.

Both can also play third, and as Torre is at least talking about giving Casey Blake more time off this year, both could be busy. With DeWitt in the minors, that could open up another reserve infield position.

Belliard’s situation is dependent upon him not looking like Tommy Lasorda in his uniform. If he doesn’t get down to 209 this spring, his $825,000 contract isn’t guaranteed and he could be released.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Ronnie Belliard. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (13)

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Blake DeWitt

All because they refused to sign the all-star, gold glove-winning second baseman they already had. Absolutely amazing.

Belliard (old right hand bat), probably will not be up to starting 140 games.
DeWitt (young left hand bat), whose lateral range really plays better at third.
So, a platoon combo of Belliard/DeWitt at 2b with Carroll as a late inning defensive sub?

For some reason I think having a 35 year old 2B and 38 LF will do more bad than good.

You're just picking on this guy cause his name sounds like Belly Lard.

2nd, SS and 3rd, should be well taken care of this year, if all these infielders hang around.
IMO, it's good, you could never have enough help sitting around and it's a great experience for both the young and old.

Torre said he was going give DeWitt every chance to win the job in spring training. Well, he's gonna have to hit better than he did last season...and I'm not that sure about his defense, either, although he's better than Belliard (which isn't saying that much...Belliard doesn't exactly have a lot of range). So Carroll just may end up being the guy. It's looking more and more like second base won't be one of the club's strengths this season.

It looks pretty much like second base will be a combo platter, with some kind of platoon of Belliard, IF he gets down to 209, Caroll, and Dewitt. At this moment, Dewitt may be the only option the Dodgers have for a left handed stick off the bench, either he or Mantkiewicz.

Getting rid of O-Dog was a dumb move.

In 2003 Jim Tracy said "second base was Joe Thurston's job to lose", which he promptly did by bombing out in spring training. This season, it should be DeWitt's job to lose, but Belliard offers a little more offensive push than Alex Cora did. Best case scenario is that DeWitt turns out to be the real deal and either Belliard or Carroll become expendable. The fact that both of the latter are on the roster means that Ned is less than confident of DeWitt "not losing the second base job."

"Belliard’s situation is dependent upon him not looking like Tommy Lasorda in his uniform."

Great Line. I'm gonna steal it.

The situation makes you miss Jeff Kent --- Not.

Yes, my husband has a huge belly...
...but he is no Belliard.
How dare you!


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