Nicholson Solves A Problem

David Nicholson remembers the first time he played shortstop. It was 2004, his rookie year at Ogden when "Travis Barbary, the manager, asked me if I could play short. I never had, to be honest, either in high school or college. But I wanted the chance to play so I said, 'Yes' and got in there.

Not that he became a regular from then on. No, not that year nor last season, which he spent mostly at Columbus with a brief stint at Jacksonville. There, he moved around, filling in where needed.

Nor was he the first choice for the job at Vero Beach this time. In fact, he was the third man picked. Having decided that neither Juan Rivera nor Ivan DeJesus, Jr. the most likely shortstop candidates among the younger players were ready for high A, the Dodgers went with Cole Bruce who hits wells enough. However, Bruce quickly demonstrated neither the range nor the glovework desirable for the job.

Next it was Jimmy Rohan. He's quite capable in the field but they see him as a utilityman supreme, roving among positions. So, it became Nicholson's turn. So far, he's been more than acceptable in the field and what's more, he 's filling another slot that had them groping a bit- that of a lead-off man.

At this, Nicholson has experience. He's proved to be a steady get-on guy, batting around .300 and has plus speed on the base paths.

Since he averaged only .242 for his first two seasons, the extra punch he shown at the plate has been a pleasant bonus. Part of his improvement, he credits to new organizational hitting instructor Bill Robinson, who has him standing more erect at the plate.

Mostly, though, he thinks it's because, " I'm getting to play every day and being able to settle in. I have to do that to be consistent. "

Nicholson is a product of Esperanza High in Anaheim, where he was a teammate of Greg Miller and Matt Parrish, the son of Lance, the former big league catcher who's now slated to become the manager at Ogden.

Since Lance and his wife are here for the extended camp, Nicholson has been able to get together with a family that he grew close to back home.

Dave went on to play for the University of California at Berkeley before being drafted by the Dodgers in the ninth round of the 2004 selection process. He's since gone back to school in the off-season, finishing up his degree work in sociology.

He's not sure what occupation that will lead to but he doesn't have to concern himself about that now. For he's fully employed as a shortstop for the moment - and making the most of that.