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Garret Anderson will try to play first base for Dodgers

Longtime outfielder hasn’t played the infield since his minor league days. ‘It won’t be instinctive,’ he said.

March 11, 2010|By Dylan Hernandez

Reporting from Phoenix — To improve his chances of making the Dodgers' roster, Garret Anderson will try to do something he hasn't done in a long time.

Make that a long, long time.

Anderson hasn't played first base in such a long time that, he said, "I might as well say never."

The last time he did, the now-37-year-old outfielder was 21 and playing for the Angels' triple-A affiliate in Vancouver.

"They had me work out over there every day for probably like two, three weeks," Anderson said. "Rumor has it that it was because J.T. Snow was struggling in California. I don't know if that was true or not."

Anderson admitted part of him was worried.

"To break in with a position you're not familiar with, that would've been tough," he said.

Anderson was called up to the Angels in July of that year, but to play left field.

Anderson, who signed a minor league contract last week and still hasn't appeared in any games, said he isn't taking his new assignment lightly.

"It wouldn't be instinctive," he said. "As an outfielder, I have an idea of where the infielders are going to be when I throw a ball in. I know where the first baseman is going to be. But to actually have that point of view of it and do it, it's going to be different. I'm going to have to learn some stuff."

Ortiz makes a push

With Ramon Troncoso holding a sandal that was supposed to simulate a microphone, Ramon Ortiz sang loud enough for half of the clubhouse to hear.

"I'll sing for my church when I retire," Ortiz said.

Not that the 36-year-old former Angels pitcher thinks his career is anywhere near over. A candidate to be the fifth starter, Ortiz has pitched five scoreless innings this spring, including three Wednesday. He last pitched in the majors in 2007 for the Colorado Rockies and spent the last two years reinventing himself.

Ortiz said he caught an unexpected break while pitching for the Orix Buffaloes of Japan. The Buffaloes' closer, Daisuke Kato, taught him how to throw a curveball. Ortiz said he perfected the pitch last year, which he spent with the triple-A affiliate of the Giants.

"Everything happens for a reason," he said.

Short hops

Manny Ramirez departed for Taiwan as part of the Dodgers' split squad that will play three exhibition games on the island nation this weekend… Right-hander Charlie Haeger said an MRI exam showed a swollen joint in his spine, pressing against a nerve. Haeger, who felt pain in his hip and a tingling in his feet Tuesday, said he expected to be sidelined for only a couple of days.

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