Garciaparra Could Play Short Again

Nomar Garciaparra, battling for the starting third base spot with rookie Andy LaRoche, may be asked to return to his roots at shortstop to allow the Dodgers move working room on their 25-man roster.

Manager Joe Torre talked to him during the off-season and said he would get most of his action at third base but that he might play first base or shortstop because on a National League ballclub, you have to do some double-switching and move some players around." He wouldn't be at short often, but it would allow the club avoid keeping a backup shortstop on the roster and could give Rafael Furcal a break now and then.

Garciaparra hasn't played shortstop since 2005 with the Chicago Cubs. But in April he tore his left groin and was on the DL for three months. Outfielder/infielder Delwyn Young is playing so well, the Dodgers want to keep him on the roster.

"What I can't figure out is how this guy has stayed under the radar for so many years while coming up through the minors. He can really play,"Torre said of Young.

Torre also mentioned Garciaparra has the edge over LaRoche for the everyday third-base job.

Brazoban in, Saito Out
Takashi Saito and Yhency Brazoban were to make their spring debuts Tuesday night against Washington, but only Brazoban will actually do so.

Saito has a cramp in his's right calf that cut short his throwing session on Saturday. Torre said there wasn't any cause for alarm, but said he would be monitored closely over the next few days as a precaution.

The 38-year old closer has a history of muscle problems and a strain of the same calf limited his activity at the start of camp last year.

"Closers are special people," Torre said. "The final three outs are the toughest in the game."

He also mentioned that Jason Schmidt was a longshot to ready to pitch when the season starts. the opening roster. "But problems early in spring training are better than problems later in the month."

Garvey Honored
Steve Garvey was be honored before the game and threw out the ceremonial first pitch before taking his place at first base, where he set the NL record for consecutive games played.

Garvey held a book signing at Holman Stadium from the second through fourth innings of his upcoming book, "What I Learned From the Boys of Summer." Garvey's father used to drive the team bus during Spring Training in the 1950s.

Tommy Back in the Saddle
While Joe Torre and a split-squad group of Dodgers head to China for a pair of exhibition games against the Padres March 11-18, Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda will manage the club's final eight games of the Grapefruit League schedule. 

When a writer told him he looked 10 years younger in anticipation of his move back to the dugout, he said, "The managing part isn't the important thing, more important is that [owner] Frank McCourt wanted me to do it."

Lasorda most recently managed in 2000, when he guided an underdog U.S. Olympic team to a Gold Medal over the heavily-favored Cuban National Team in Sydney, Australia.  Lasorda is entering his 59th season in the Dodger organization. In his 20-year Major League managerial career, he compiled a 1599-1439 record while winning two World Championships, four National League pennants, and eight division titles.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Relief pitcher Yhency Brazoban, who spent most of the last two seasons on the disabled list and is recovering from labrum surgery, faced minor league hitters Saturday and did not report any problems following his session. ...Reliever Greg Miller won't let the issue plague him, and that it's not a setback. "I've got to go back to the basic building blocks of a simple delivery," said Miller, who walked 89 batters in 76.2 innings between stops in Triple-A Las Vegas and Double-A Jacksonville last season. "I want to take out all the moving parts and make it simple so it's easy to repeat. Every pitcher's going to get in a little trouble, but I need to get out of trouble with a simple delivery." ...Dan Warthen, one of three Dodgers coaches who were let go when manager Grady Little stepped down last fall, is now the pitching coach for the Mets' Triple-A New Orleans affiliate. ...Hitting coach Mike Easler hasn't given up on Nomar Garciaparra. "I've watched so much video on Nomar and spend a lot of time with him," said Easler. "Nomar's going to hit for average, hit a lot of doubles, and drive in a lot of runs, and that's what we want out of him. He's 34 years old and he has a lot of baseball left in him." ...Chan-Ho Park pitched two scoreless innings, after being lit up in an intrasquad scrimmage when he allowed five hits, including two doubles, and two runs. "I feel better than last time in the intrasquad game," Park said. "My fastball had a lot more command, and I think I just overthrew last time." ......Derek Lowe has won at least 12 games in each of his six years as a full-time starter, including a career-best 21 victories in 2002 with the Boston Red Sox.  Only two other pitchers have won 12 or more in each of the last six years -- Tim Hudson and Greg Maddux.  Lowe, who is entering his fourth season in a Dodger uniform, went 12-14 last year with a 3.88 ERA.

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