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Orlando Hudson agrees to terms with Dodgers

Baseball sources say the Gold Glove second baseman, who last played for Arizona, has a one-year deal, pending a physical.

February 21, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

PHOENIX — The Dodgers are on the verge of another bargain-bin addition, agreeing on a one-year deal with three-time Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson on Friday, according to baseball sources.

The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal was pending because Hudson had to take a physical.

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti declined to confirm or deny the agreement. Hudson's agent, Greg Genske, couldn't be reached by phone or e-mail.

Terms of the deal weren't immediately available, but MLB.com reported that it was worth $3.4 million and had incentive clauses that could raise its total value to $8 million.

Hudson, 31, has a career average of .282 over seven major league seasons, including the last three with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He went into the off-season looking for a multi-year deal worth around $10 million a season, but the slow free-agent market, combined with the uncertain condition of his left wrist that he dislocated last season, caused his value to fall.

That made Hudson an ideal candidate for the Dodgers, who made it a point to sign Rafael Furcal and Randy Wolf to budget-conscious deals this winter and entered spring training with converted third baseman Blake DeWitt as their tentative starter at second.

What this means for the 23-year-old DeWitt remains unclear.

If the Dodgers fail to re-sign Manny Ramirez, they could move third baseman Casey Blake to left field and DeWitt to third. If Ramirez returns, DeWitt probably will play off the bench or, more likely, be sent to triple-A Albuquerque.

DeWitt was gracious when told of the acquisition of Hudson.

"He's a phenomenal player, definitely someone I can learn from," DeWitt said.

Also losing a shot at starting is Tony Abreu, the once-promising but injury-prone infield prospect who drew the praise of the coaching staff's resident fielding savant, Larry Bowa. Abreu, who said he has recovered from abdominal problems that forced him to miss most of the last 1 1/2 seasons, took early infield practice Friday morning under Bowa's critical eye.

"Not just good, very good," Bowa said. "He's got tools, man. Quickness, quick feet, good arm. There are no guarantees, though."

That lack of assurance was probably why the Dodgers turned to Hudson, especially at his lowered price.

An All-Star in 2007, Hudson was hitting .305 with eight home runs and 41 runs batted in over 107 games last season. But Hudson dislocated his wrist and sat out the final two months of the season as he recovered from surgery.

Many teams stayed away from Hudson because of concerns that his weakened wrist could affect him at the plate, but the Dodgers evidently were satisfied by what he showed them in a recent workout.

More on Manny

Manager Joe Torre admitted that one of the reasons he has kept in touch with Ramirez was to make sure that the free-agent outfielder wouldn't begrudge the Dodgers for the way their negotiations with him have unfolded.

Torre said he has called Ramirez "just to show him the human side of it, the baseball side of it, as opposed to the business side of it."

Short hops

Jason Schmidt will pitch an inning in the Dodgers' intrasquad game Monday. Also scheduled to pitch are Jonathan Broxton, Erick Threets, Greg Miller, Scott Elbert, Justin Orenduff, Jesus Castillo, Victor Garate and Jacobo Meque. . . . Furcal said he was on board with Torre's idea of resting him about once a week in the early parts of the regular season. "He's the manager," Furcal said. "He's the boss over here. He knows what he's doing." Torre named Abreu, Mark Loretta and non-roster player Juan Castro as candidates to fill in for Furcal. . . . Reliever Yhency Brazoban was shut down because of shoulder inflammation. "It's not bad," he said. "One or two days" . . . Pinch-hitting specialist Mark Sweeney, who dropped by the Camelback Ranch facility, said he hasn't been able to find work and might be forced to retire. "Players like me don't retire, we give our uniforms back," said Sweeney, 39, who hit .130 last season with the Dodgers.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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