Dodgers Sign 2B Orlando Hudson

The Dodgers, still waiting for word from Manny Ramirez, nailed down a gold glove and a sold bat in the meantime. Reports indicate that the Dodgers have signed second baseman Orlando Hudson, although Dodger officials will not confirm the trade. Speculation is that the deal is made but it is not official until the obligatory physical is passed.

Earlier in the day, Manager Joe Torre emphasized the need for an extra infielder after mandating that shortstop Rafael Furcal would be given at least one day off per week during the early part of the season.

Torre had mentioned veteran Mark Loretta, second-year player Tony Abreu and non-roster shortstop Juan Castro as possibilities to play in place of Furcal, who underwent season-ending back surgery last year.

But reports say the three-time Gold Glove winner Hudson has signed a one-year contract worth $3.4 million with another $4.6 million available in incentives, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com and the Arizona Republic as well as other media.

A seven-year veteran, he hit .305 with eight home runs and 41 RBI in 107 games with Arizona the- the Dodgers' National League West rivals - last season.

Hudson, 31, had his season cut short when he underwent surgery to repair a dislocated left wrist in August. He is a career .282 hitter with 68 home runs and 372 RBI in 865 games with Toronto and Arizona.

Hudson, 31, hit .305 with eight home runs and 41 RBI last season for the rival Diamondbacks. His most productive season was 2006, when he hit 15 homers with 67 RBIs and scored 87 runs.

Over the past three seasons, including the 2008 season cut short by the injury, he has averaged 5.63 runs created per game, high for a second baseman.

But along with a solid bat, his glove is an extremely valuable addition. He well may be as good a second baseman as the Dodgers have had in Los Angeles.

During his seven-year Major League career, he has averaged a range factor of 5.14. Range factor is the number of plays per game an individual makes. His Range Factors and the Los Angeles top 10 Range Factor list:

              Dodger top 10
year  RF    RF    Player  	
2002  5.25  5.45--Steve Sax, 1984  
2003  5.35  5.44--Delino DeShields, 1994
2004  5.45  5.41--Alex Cora, 2003
2005  5.32  5.37--Jeff Kent, 2006
2006  5.23  5.36--Steve Sax, 1982
2007  4.71  5.29--Charlie Neal, 1959
2008  4.61  5.27--Jeff Kent, 2005
            5.26--Jody Reed, 1993
            5.20--Ted Sizemore, 1969
            5.19--Steve Sax, 1986
The deal came quickly after it was reported that the Dodgers had also begun talks with another free-agent infielder, Orlando Cabrera. If Hudson and shortstop Rafael Furcal stay healthy, they give the Dodgers potentially the best middle infield in the league.

Hudson had to take a pay cut from the $6.2 million he received last year, although incentives if reached will come very close to that total. He will be checked carefully having had surgery to repair a dislocated left wrist that cut short his season in August.

Hudson, primarily a No. 3 hitter for the Diamondbacks, becomes a candidate to bat second behind Furcal in the Dodgers batting order, especially if Ramirez winds up batting third in a lineup that also includes Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, James Loney and Blake.

The Dodgers appear determined to land one of them to improve their offense and defense, while continuing talks to sign free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez.

Blake DeWitt, when notified of the deal by Diamond Leung of the Riverside Press-Examiner, showed class well beyond his years. DeWitt laughed and said he left his third base glove back at his apartment. "I told myself I'm going to concentrate on second base," he said.

"I want to help us win a World Series," he said. "However I can do that, I will be more than happy to. ... Orlando is a great player. If somebody is going to get him, why not us? He can help a team win, and that is what we are trying to do here."

Asked if he would continue to try to win the second base job, DeWitt said, "You have to approach it that way. That's how you push yourself. Nothing's changed for me."

Orlando Hudson
?6-0  185  BR  TR
Born- Dec. 12, 1977 in Darlington, SC

year  team  ave   obp   ops  gm   ab   r   h   2b 3b hr  bi  sb
2002  Tor  .276  .319  .762  54  192  20   53  10  5  4  23   0
2003  Tor  .268  .328  .723 142  474  54  127  21  6  9  57   5
2004  Tor  .270  .341  .779 135  489  73  132  32  7 12  58   7
2005  Tor  .271  .315  .727 131  461  62  125  25  5 10  63   7
2006  Az   .287  .354  .808 157  579  87  166  34  9 15  67   9
2007  Az   .294  .376  .817 139  517  69  152  28  9 10  63  10
2008  Az   .305  .367  .817 107  407  54  124  29  3  8  41   4
---------------------------------------------------------------
 Totals    .282  .346  .779 865 3119 419  879 179 44 68 372  42

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