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Dodgers' Blake DeWitt tries shortstop

DODGERS FYI

He hadn't played the position since high school, but he is trying to show his versatility.

March 01, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

TUCSON — Blake DeWitt was asked to make what was essentially an emergency start at third base on opening day as a rookie last season. He was once sent down to triple A, only to be recalled before he could unpack his bags. He was moved to second base in September and entered spring training as the projected starter at the position until the Dodgers signed Orlando Hudson.

Saturday, DeWitt was asked to play shortstop for the first time since he was in high school as part of an audition for a utility role.

DeWitt was tested early in the Dodgers' 13-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies, as the Rockies' first hitter, Eric Young Jr., hit a grounder at him.

"Guy at a new position, you know it's going to come," said DeWitt, who threw out Young but didn't have another ball hit to him in his five innings in the field.

Third base coach Larry Bowa, who has run special early-morning infield practice for DeWitt, was pleased with what he saw from his pupil.

"I don't know what his range is going to be, but he gets good jumps, good reads," Bowa said. "He just has good instincts wherever you put him."

Manny update

General Manager Ned Colletti resumed talks with Manny Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras.

"Discussions are ongoing," said Boras, who made the Dodgers a two-year, $45-million proposal that included an opt-out clause Thursday.

Boras' proposal was made in response to an offer made Wednesday by the Dodgers, who pitched a two-year, $45-million deal that included the opt-out clause but also $25 million in deferred payments without added interest.

Deferring payments without interest might be rare in baseball, but the Dodgers are starting to make a habit of including language in their contracts that is letting them do that.

Randy Wolf signed for $5 million and can earn an additional $3 million in incentives based on innings pitched. Two-thirds of his incentive pay will be deferred without interest.

Hudson has an incentive-laden deal that could earn him $8 million this season, of which as much as $937,000 can be deferred without interest. Hudson is guaranteed $3.38 million, including a $380,000 signing bonus that will be deferred without interest.

Camelback to open

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is expected to be at Camelback Ranch today when the Dodgers and Chicago White Sox face each other in the first game at the new spring training complex that they share.

Manager Joe Torre said the only players missing from his regular lineup will be Russell Martin, who will be training for the World Baseball Classic, and Andre Ethier and Casey Blake, who are recovering from minor injuries. Hiroki Kuroda will take the mound.

Short hops

X-rays on infielder Tony Abreu's right groin came back negative. Abreu will undergo an MRI exam Monday. . . . Non-roster infielder Juan Castro was three for three with two doubles, two runs and a run batted in to raise his spring average to .750 (six for eight). But Torre said that he doesn't expect the traditionally weak-hitting Castro to remain an offensive force and will decide whether to include him on the team based primarily on his defensive versatility.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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