DeWitt makes first start at second base

DeWitt makes first start at second base

PHOENIX -- When the Dodgers had rookie Blake DeWitt playing exclusively at second base during his Minor League demotion, he sensed there might be new opportunities on the horizon.

But he wasn't expecting to pinch-hit for likely Hall of Famer Jeff Kent in a run-producing situation, which he did Friday night when Kent was injured, singling home Manny Ramirez.

"I can't say I was expecting it," DeWitt said. "But after this year, when you've seen all that's happened, you've just got to be ready for anything."

Like starting Opening Day at third base after not even being invited to Major League Spring Training. Like starting at the position more this year than any Dodger. Like struggling and being demoted and then being promoted back to the big leagues this week.

And Saturday, with Kent en route to Los Angeles for an MRI on his injured left knee, DeWitt was making his first Major League start at second base, a position he played in the Minor Leagues in 2006, when the club thought Andy LaRoche was the third baseman of the future and was looking for another spot for DeWitt's left-handed bat.

DeWitt was batting seventh, right behind the new starting third baseman Casey Blake. As Andre Ethier pointed out while looking at the lineup card -- Blake batting sixth, DeWitt batting seventh. Blake. DeWitt. What were the odds of that?

Manager Joe Torre said he wanted to see what DeWitt "looks like" at second base, offering a hint at one possible future scenario with Kent's anticipated retirement after this season.

"It will benefit us going forward to see what we have," Torre said of DeWitt.

DeWitt said he went through the normal transitional hiccups when he moved from third to second this time.

"I've got a pretty good feel for it now," he said. "There's a lot I have to work on. I made a lot of improvement pretty quick, but there are still things to work on, like positioning hitters, turning the double plays, everything. But I can definitely do it."

Torre also gave Nomar Garciaparra the start off. Garciaparra was charged with two errors Friday night that led to four unearned runs. One of the errors was a difficult chance, but Torre said the day off was more about Garciaparra's offense than his defense.

"His at-bats, it looks like he's forcing it now," Torre said of Garciaparra, who is 3-for-28 and without an extra-base hit in his last 13 games.

Angel Berroa started at shortstop.

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