Notes: Guzman to switch positions

Notes: Guzman's future position unknown

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- In his equipment bag, Joel Guzman has the finest leather gloves for his current position of shortstop and his potential future positions of first base, third base and the outfield.

But the top prospect points to the tool that will get him to the Major Leagues and keep him there. It's made of wood.

"If I hit, I'll be in the Major Leagues and that's where I want to be," said Guzman, who will play shortstop in Tuesday's intrasquad game before beginning the search for a new position.

"I saw [former Dodger and current Met] Victor Diaz in winter ball and he moved from second base to the outfield," said Guzman. "He said, 'I'm an outfielder now, but I'm in the big leagues. If you hit, it doesn't matter.' That's where I want to be. I won't get to the big leagues on this team as a shortstop, so I have to move.

"I know I can play shortstop. If I wasn't a good shortstop, they would have moved me a long time ago. I know that. Sometimes it's disappointing, but I'm not mad or bitter."

Guzman played first and third base in winter ball in addition to shortstop. He has almost zero experience in the outfield.

"That's not an issue to me," he said. "If that's the best place for me, I'll learn it like Victor. I'll be ready to help this team as a hitter."

Gagne update: Closer Eric Gagne faced batters on Thursday for the first time since June elbow surgery. He won't do it again until the March 8 exhibition game against Baltimore at Dodgertown. He did throw a bullpen session on Sunday and will continue to throw regularly.

"It feels great and it bounces back better each time," said Gagne. "I just don't like throwing to our hitters. I did it once and I got an idea from their reactions to the pitches, but that's enough. I'll save it for the games."

Furcal update: Shortstop Rafael Furcal still believes his right knee, operated on in January, will be 100 percent by Opening Day. But it's not 100 percent now.

"I still have some pain. Sometimes it's sore, especially with running," said Furcal. "It's getting better and better. I'm running about 75 or 80 percent. More than that, it hurts. But I'll be fine."

Brazoban update: Reliever Yhency Brazoban, who came up sore after pitching to hitters last week, played catch with considerable velocity on Monday but will be eased back into action.

"There's a little tightness and we'll back off as a precautionary measure," said manager Grady Little. "It doesn't seem serious. We'll go on an abbreviated schedule. He'll miss a bullpen session. We're not real concerned because we have some time to get him ready."

Combining the regular season and winter ball, Brazoban made 101 appearances for 99 2/3 innings in the last 12 months. He led the Dominican Winter League in saves.

Oh-dalis: Odalis Perez will be leaving the club to join the Dominican Republic squad in the World Baseball Classic, but when he will leave is a little fuzzy.

Perez previously thought he would leave for Orlando on Thursday. On Monday, Little said Perez wouldn't be pitching for the Dominican until March 9 and wouldn't leave until March 8. But Perez later said he needed to train with the Dominican club for a few days before he pitched.

Little said he planned on having Perez pitch in several Dodgers exhibition games before he leaves.

Stay tuned.

A mitt for Robles: Ramon Martinez, gunning for Oscar Robles' utility job, played all four infield positions last year. Robles played third, short and first.

Guess what Robles was doing at 9 in the morning on Monday?

"They asked me to take ground balls at first," said Robles. "I went over to Field 3 with [coach] Mariano Duncan. I borrowed a glove from Chris Truby. It was pretty good, no problem. Pickoffs, too."

All aboard: The busses for Tuesday's intrasquad game in Jacksonville will leave Dodgertown at 7 a.m. ET. After three hours on I-95, D.J. Houlton will oppose top prospect Chad Billingsley. Those two and Justin Orenduff will pitch two innings each. Projected Major League starters on the trip are third baseman Bill Mueller, first baseman Nomar Garciaparra, left fielder Jose Cruz Jr. and catcher Dioner Navarro.

Lefty challenge: Little praised the Monday work of hard-throwing left-handed reliever Tim Hamulack, acquired from the Mets with Jae Seo. Before a rough September debut with the Mets, Hamulack was almost unhittable splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A, his 10th Minor League season.

Hamulack credits his improvement last year to arthroscopic surgery he had to shave a bone spur in his shoulder that had been bothering him for six years. His acquisition was endorsed by new Dodgers pitching coach Dan Warthen, Hamulack's Triple-A pitching coach in Norfolk.

That's a balk: Senior umpire Bruce Froemming, a Vero Beach resident, held a 40-minute seminar for pitchers on avoiding balks and various housecleaning issues, such as the added time between innings when games are telecast nationally.

Froemming said pitchers in those games will be encouraged to remain in the dugout an extra 20 seconds to synchronize the end of their warm-ups with the resumption of play.

In any language: Of the 58 players in camp, Spanish is the first language of 18. The club recently held a meeting with them to encourage cooperation in dealing with the media, particularly English speaking media. The players were shown a video, produced by Major League Baseball, explaining to players the importance of promoting the game.

Karros miked: Former Dodgers first baseman Eric Karros has joined KCAL 9 as an analyst on the Think Blue TV Dodgers pregame shows.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.