Uribe ready to bounce back at third base

Uribe ready to bounce back at third base

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Third baseman Juan Uribe checked into Dodgers camp Saturday speaking of wounded pride from the 2011 season and looking to bounce back in 2012.

Uribe, 33 next month, was signed to a three-year, $21 million contract after World Series heroics in 2010. He started off his Dodgers stint with an injury-riddled disaster last season, hitting .204 with only four homers, 28 RBIs and ending it with sports hernia surgery.

He's already got an issue to deal with this year: He's being sued in a Monday civil court case in San Francisco for kitchen fire damage in an apartment he rented while he played for the Giants.

Manager Don Mattingly said he expects Uribe to miss a day or two of practice for the trial. When he returns, he will be anchored at third base all season rather than moved around the infield as he was last year.

"Juan at second doesn't feel right for me," said Mattingly. "We think third is his best position. My thought is to keep him in one spot. He's got sure hands, sure arm and a good feel for the game. He struggled offensively and that got a ton of attention, but he's a good defender."

Mattingly said he didn't feel Uribe's unusual body type looked much different last year or this year than it did in previous years. And he said he's sure last year's struggles took a toll on Uribe emotionally.

"He probably doesn't share it with you, but as a player when you struggle, guys are bothered by that," said Mattingly. "You can talk all you want about the money, but when you have a bad year, I don't care who you are you're going to feel bad about it. You don't have to talk to him to know it bothered him."