Henri Stanley Waiting For a Chance

The ultimate plan for the Dodgers is to have Las Vegas just like the other teams in the farm system -- hopefully loaded with bright, young prospects. "We won't be satisfied until 20 of the 24 on the roster came up through the system," says Terry Collins, the director of player development. "In the meantime, though, we've brought in some players who we think can be spare parts in L.A. if we need them."

This year, with all the injuries, have they ever needed them. Mike Edwards, Mike Rose, Oscar Robles, Kelly Wunsch, and Scott Erickson. And, if they need another, there's Henri Stanley playing like a man whois ready to finally get his shot. Finally, because this is the sixth year for him in the minor leagues, time in which hes twice made 40-man rosters but not one at-bat up in the bigtime.

Henri (his first name is not only spelled in the French manner but pronounced that way, "On-ree") -- came into the Dodger organization at the trading deadline last summer from the Red Sox in exchange for Dave Roberts. He had been hitting .299 for the Sox AAA affiliate Pawtucket when acquired, after which he did rather nicely at Las Vegas, hitting .284.

The Dodger pulled him up to the 40-man for awhile until the numbers game caused by free agent signings bumped him down. He settled for a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training where he performed well enough though he didn't make the team. He's been at Vegas since watching Jason Repko, Cody Ross and the latest, Chin-Feng Chen answer a 911 call upwards.

He's making a statement that he could help if he's selected next. His numbers are very solid-.281-11-34. That's rather typical of the way he's always played for he has a .293 lifetime mark and provides the long ball, not in bunches but often enough. This season may wind up being his best in the home run department with 16 his previous high.

That was in 2002 with Round Rock in the Texas League. He belonged to the Padres then before his trade to Boston. He actually began in the Astros organization after not being drafted.out of Clemson University. An intelligent person, he twice earned ACC Academic honors. As a senior, he led the Tigers to the College World Series.

He's a left-handed batter who's swift enough to cover center field well and steal a base if needed. At age 27, he figures he's paid his dues down below though he knows he'll have to grind it out some more before making it up at last.

As noted, there's a lot of players up now who didn't figure in the team's original thinking. Henri doesn't say he'll go up and make them forget J.D. Drew or Milton Bradley. He may be a helpful spare part in making the season more respetable, though, and that would be more than enough.