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Nakamura once agreed with Mets

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitcher Darren Dreifort is scheduled
to have shoulder surgery Feb. 15, his fourth operation of the
offseason.
Heading into the final season of a $55 million, five-year
contract, Dreifort had surgery on his left knee Jan. 6. He had hip
surgery in September, and an operation on his right knee in
October.

"He recovered well from each of the first two surgeries, but
it's hard to predict exactly how long it's going to take -- especially with the upcoming surgery," general manager Paul
DePodesta said Thursday. "So I think he still has a long road in
front of him."
Dreifort, a right-hander who turns 33 on May 3, has made 26
starts and 60 relief appearances in the first four seasons of his
contract, totaling 205 2/3 innings. He missed the 1995 and 2002
seasons after elbow ligament replacement operations.
"We knew going into the offseason that he was probably going to
have four procedures. They had to stagger them because he obviously
couldn't have all of them back-to-back," DePodesta said Thursday
at a news conference to announce the signing of third baseman
Norihiro Nakamura to a minor league contract.
Nakamura, an eight-time All-Star in Japan, was presented a
Dodgers No. 66 jersey by DePodesta -- the number the player wore as
a rookie with Kintetsu in 1992.
"As far as me playing in the major leagues, there is no
guarantee of that as of right now, so I would like to be able to
prove what I can do," Nakamura said through a translator. "My
main goal is to be on the opening day roster and, hopefully, be the
starting third baseman for the Dodgers."
Nakamura, 31, had a career .263 average during his 13 seasons in
Japan's Pacific League, hitting 307 home runs and driving in 916
runs. He spent time working out with the Dodgers last year during
their spring camp at Vero Beach, Fla.
In the battle to replace Adrian Beltre, Nakamura is competing
with Jose Valentin, who hit 30 homers last season for the Chicago
White Sox.
"Certainly, we signed Jose Valentin with the idea that he would
play third base, and I certainly still expect him to be on this
club and be the leading contender," DePodesta said. "But that
being said, the more guys we can bring in to give us even greater
protection and greater competition, the better off we are. I think
Nakamura's an above-average third baseman, but I think he can make
the transition to first if need be."