Nomar Would Play First, Third or Outfield

The Los Angeles Times reports that first base is not necessarily the first option for Nomar Garciaparra. General Manager Ned Colletti said he has talked with the agents for Garciaparra, outfielder Kenny Lofton and pitchers Greg Maddux and Eric Gagne about possible new contracts.

Garciaparra, 33, played shortstop for the first eight seasons of his career, then third base for the Chicago Cubs in 2005 and first base for the Dodgers this year. Colletti said Arn Tellem, the agent for Garciaparra, told the Dodgers his client would be "open-minded" about "playing first base, third base, maybe the outfield."

However, if Garciaparra returns, Colletti said he envisions him playing one or two positions but not moving around the field on a regular basis. Ramon Martinez Signed-- The infielder was signed to a one-year contract with a club option for 2008, according to Colletti. "Ramon was a very valuable and versatile player for us this season," said Colletti. "He can fill several roles for the club and is a strong presence off the bench and in the clubhouse."

Martinez, 34, was signed as a non-roster invitee and made the Opening Day roster, appearing in 82 games for the Dodgers. He batted .278 with two homers and 24 RBI while making 27 starts at second base, five at third base, three at shortstop and one in right field.

The infielder with the memory-inducing name was especially productive in the clutch, batting .339 with runners in scoring position and .364 with runners in scoring position and two outs. He belted a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 16th inning on Aug. 29 vs. Cincinnati, providing one of the Dodgers' most dramatic moments during the 2006 regular season. He also had a career-high five RBI in a May 29 game in Atlanta.

Martinez has played nine seasons in the Major Leagues, batting .270 with 29 homers and 208 RBI with the Giants, Cubs, Tigers, Phillies and Dodgers. He has appeared in the postseason on four occasions – with San Francisco in 2000 and 2002, Chicago in 2003 and the Dodgers in 2006.

The Game's Afoot-- Shopping starts in earnest November 12, the first day teams can talk money with the players they're trying to lure. Alfonso Soriano, a rare combination of slugging and speed, will be pursued by several teams including the Dodgers. However, some say the Phillies' will start the talking at five years for $75 million, and keep an open mind about sweetening the deal to beat off other teams interested.

Zito for Bonds?-- Rumors swirl that Barry Zito might be traded to San Francisco for Barry Bonds. The Giants might offer Bond's $18 million for a one season stay.

Sain Dead at 89-- Johnny Sain, a three-time All-Star who teamed with Warren Spahn to make up one of baseball's most fabled pitching tandems, died November 7. He was 89. Sain was 139-116 with a 3.49 ERA in 11 seasons in the 1940s and 1950s, mostly with the Braves and New York Yankees. He won three straight World Series titles with Casey Stengel's Yankees from 1951-53. Sain was the first to pitch to Jackie Robinson on opening day April 15, 1947. He held him hitless but he scored the Dodger's winning run in the eighth inning of a 5-3 over the Braves.

Red Hayworth Dead at 91-- Former Brooklyn Dodger Red Hayworth died November 7. A fine defensive catcher but only an ordinary hitter, Hayworth lost his job to Mickey Cochrane in 1934 and was a backup catcher the rest of his career. He caught with the Giants and Browns before catching for the Dodgers in 1938 and 1939. He made a "comeback" with Brooklyn at the age of 40 to help out the talent-strapped wartime club and also caught briefly the next season.

Dodger Blue Notes-- The Braves signed former Dodger minor league pitcher Steve Colyer to a minor league contract; pitcher Adrian Burnside and Myron Myrow signed with San Diego. …Washington hired a number of scouts in an overhaul of the team's staff. Among other additions was former Dodger Bill Singer as special assignment scout. Singer was fired from his job as a special assistant to the general manager by the New York Mets in 2003 after making racially insensitive remarks to Kim Ng of the Dodgers. He comes to the Nationals after three years as a major league scout with the Arizona Diamondbacks.