Gimenez, Paul, DeJesus fight for spots

Gimenez, Paul, DeJesus fight for spots

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Hector Gimenez slugged his third home run of the week Friday to tie Matt Kemp for the Dodgers lead, while Xavier Paul added a solo shot and Ivan DeJesus had three hits.

All three players, fighting for Dodgers roster spots, have averages above .300. But their immediate futures could be decided by factors beyond their control.

Gimenez and Paul are out of options and the club will risk losing them through waivers if attempts are made to send either to the Minor Leagues.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers still have options on DeJesus. But with Casey Blake's back injury putting his availability for the opener in doubt, manager Don Mattingly has said he would move second baseman Juan Uribe to third base and fill in at second.

Jamey Carroll is the logical choice, but he is nursing a bruised right index finger. Even if that heals in time, the Dodgers would probably carry an extra middle infielder if Blake is disabled. That's where DeJesus (batting .333) could make the roster, although he is competing with non-roster infielders Juan Castro (.273), Aaron Miles (.323) and long-shot Eugenio Velez (.083).

Mattingly said he didn't want DeJesus on the club if he isn't playing regularly, which would narrow down the battle primarily to Castro and Miles.

Gimenez, batting .360, could be squeezed off the club even though he's having the best spring of the group and has increased his value by showing he can play first base in addition to his natural catching position.