PEORIA, Ariz. -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly indicated Friday night that rookie Ivan DeJesus Jr. is likely to start at second base ahead of veteran utility man Jamey Carroll while Casey Blake is injured.
Blake might miss only a handful of games as he recovers from thoracic spinal inflammation. While he's been out, Juan Uribe has moved to third base and Mattingly has given the bulk of playing time at second base to DeJesus, who has rebounded from a broken leg in 2009 and concerns about his approach last year.
Those concerns apparently are in the past, as DeJesus has held his own in a competition for an infield job with non-roster veterans Aaron Miles and Juan Castro. DeJesus has options, so he is most likely to make the Opening Day roster because he can be sent back down when Blake returns without risk of losing him on waivers. Miles and Castro cannot.
"I'm ready, I'm confident," said DeJesus. "If it happens, it'll be exciting. It'll be a dream come true, something I've been waiting my whole life for. If not, I know I'll be there this year and for a long time."
So, while Miles and Castro fight for a final spot, DeJesus not only appears to have the club made, he's likely to start because Mattingly likes his bat and the organization views Carroll as a part-time player, even though he became more than that last year. Carroll is playing his way back into shape after suffering a badly bruised right index finger and has played shortstop the past two days.
If the Dodgers have concerns about Carroll's ability to make the throw from shortstop, that might give the final infield spot to Castro, a natural shortstop.
"His biggest value is that he can play anywhere," Mattingly said of Carroll. "I like him to play all over."
Mattingly said he wouldn't hesitate having DeJesus make his Major League debut against Giants Opening Day starter Tim Lincecum.
"If he's starting that day, he's starting. Young kids got to start somewhere," Mattingly said. "For me, there's not much discussion who plays on an everyday basis."
DeJesus played all nine innings Thursday and again Friday night, but Mattingly said that was necessitated by Friday's split-squad games.