Who's on first? is answered

Something took place at Dodgertown this spring that I had never seen before, except for the annual influx of pitchers trying to make the team. What do the following eleven players all have in common? Robin Ventura, Luis Garcia, Olmedo Saenz, Jose Hernandez, Jason Grabowski, Jolbert Cabrera, Jeremy Giambi, Paul LoDuca, Nick Alvarez. James Loney and Shawn Green?

All were tried at first base to find someone to replace Fred McGriff, last year's starting first basemen who was not re-signed this winter. And that search continued almost to the end of spring training, when a trade for an outfielder changed the situation and shut down what had become a revolving door.

Shawn Green now finds himself back at that spot in place of Robin Ventura who looked to be the starter in a possible platoon situation. The coming of Milton Bradley ended the experiment.

It was a prime example of one of the major problems the Dodgers had since last season. They knew that a first basemen was needed. They were hoping to get a real slugger and a true first basemen to replace McGriff.

Richie Sexon and Derrick Lee were their prime targets but between News Corps, or the McCourts, or a GM who refused or was not allowed to part with a couple of golden prospects, those two went by the boards.

Then came the next tier of first basemen who drew interest, Nick Johnson, Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko, Will Cordero, Randall Simon and others.

Many more names were mentioned but never seemed to attract the attention of the Dodgers and with so many already in the hopper, it's easy to see why they dragged their feet finding a replacement.

A lot of people, including me, felt there was a reasonable way out. It seemed the Dodgers could have signed a former gold glover for a pittance. Travis Lee for some unknown reason remained a free agent until the last week before spring training began.

The Dodgers never showed interest in Lee. They were happy to put their eggs in Robin Ventura's basket and platoon him with one of the many players going through that door mentioned above.

Then Paul DePodesta brought in a half dozen new players who included Jason Grabowski who could possibly handle the job himself.

But P.D.P. made the trade for Milton Bradley, who took over in center field. The Dodgers wanting to keep Dave Roberts, their leadoff man in the lineup, moved him to left field, Juan Encarnacion moved to right, actually his best position where he fielded 1.000 last year, and that pushed Shawn Green to first base which many people favor.

And so, the spring's biggest mystery "Who's on First?" finally ends.