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2011 Dodgers Spring Training Preview: The Infield

Spring training is underway and in full swing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who held their first full squad workout Tuesday at Camelback Ranch, their spring training home in Glendale, Arizona. The Dodgers open their spring training schedule on Saturday, with a pair of split squad games against both the Angels and Giants. Our 2011 spring training preview looks now at the Dodgers infield.

Starters

  • 1B: James Loney
  • 2B: Juan Uribe
  • 3B: Casey Blake
  • SS: Rafael Furcal

The Dodgers big offseason signing was giving $21 million over three years to Uribe, who has a career on-base percentage of .2998. That said, Uribe has been good in the last two seasons (.266/.318/.464 with 40 home runs as a Giant), and is an improvement over the Blake DeWitt / Ryan Theriot combo the Dodgers had at second base in 2010.

The Dodgers need Loney to rebound after two straight seasons with a sub-.400 slugging percentage, and they need the left side of the infield to be healthy (and productive), or else the below average Dodger offense could crater like it did in the second half of last season, when they averaged just 3.3 runs per contest after the All-Star break.

Bench

Roster Lock: Jamey Carroll

The Dodgers plan to rest Blake more often this season, at least once a week, and Carroll figures to get the bulk of that playing time. Carroll filled in ably when Furcal was hurt last season, starting 64 games at shortstop, and also started games at second base, third base, and left field. The Dodgers have versatility in that both Uribe and Carroll can play three positions.

Bench Battle: The Dodgers figure to have one bench spot up for grabs in the spring, and it will likely go to an infielder, as the club currently has five outfielders under contract for 2011. The front runners for the final bench spot are the weak hitting trio of Russ Mitchell, Juan Castro, and Aaron Miles, with the latter two the veteran favorites even though they enter spring as non-roster invitees to camp.

Also on 40-man roster: Ivan DeJesus, John Lindsey

Non-roster invitees: Dee Gordon, Justin Sellers

For more Dodgers spring training news and information, be sure to read True Blue LA.