The comeback of Ivan De Jesus Jr.: Infielder expected to make Dodgers opening roster
It looked like it just wasn’t going to happen this spring for Ivan De Jesus Jr. After impressing Manager Don Mattingly during the Arizona Fall League, he came to camp and immediately went nowhere.
With Casey Blake injured and another infield spot unexpectedly open, De Jesus started the spring with five hits in his first 23 at-bats (.217).
But then something clicked, because De Jesus has been on a tear ever since, with 11 hits in his last 23 at-bats (.478).
And it has apparently earned him a spot on the Dodgers' opening-day roster.
A Dodgers source said the team was heavily leaning toward keeping De Jesus, who has never appeared in a major league game, and starting him most games at second base until Blake returns from a back injury. Juan Uribe would then move from third back to second.
This is good news, the Dodgers giving a highly regarded prospect an opportunity. It might be a short one -- Blake is showing recent improvement -- but at least it’s an opportunity.
If De Jesus seizes it, who knows? Maybe he stays and the Dodgers turn Blake into a utility player, with starts at first, in left and at third. And maybe De Jesus simply gets his feet wet in the big leagues and is better off for it when a more long-term opportunity presents itself.
He and Jamey Carroll could also bat second, something they’re more equipped to do than Blake.
De Jesus, who has options remaining, broke his leg in 2009 and missed almost the entire season. Last year he was still regaining confidence and was not one of the team’s September call-ups.
Now he’s poised to make a comeback from 2009, after almost being written off this spring.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers infielder Ivan De Jesus forces out San Francisco's Travis Ishikawa but is unable to complete the double play during an exhibition game last month. Credit: Roy Dabner / EPA