PHOENIX -- Nomar Garciaparra is moving across the diamond.
After spending the past season and a half as the Los Angeles Dodgers' first baseman, Garciaparra will move to third base,
perhaps as early as Friday.
"We're trying to get ourselves in a position where we can be
the best we can be, and that option right now is there for us,"
manager Grady Little said Monday. "Nomar's 100 percent on board.
He's been over there before. It's not a strange place for him."
It opens up a chance for streaking James Loney to play first
base. Loney is hitting .429 since being recalled from the minor
leagues June 10.
[Grady Little] asked me what I thought, and I said, 'I've told you from way back when, before we even started the season, I'll play wherever you want me to play.
"This has a lot to do with the way James Loney is swinging the
bat and the way he's playing, too," Little said. "The primary
factor is to try to help us win games. And we feel like this is a
move we want to give a shot at right now."
The Dodgers have struggled to get production from their third
basemen all year. Wilson Betemit, the team's Opening Day third
baseman, is hitting .192 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs in 61
games. The team also used rookies Andy LaRoche, who hit .211 in 38
at-bats before being sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas in early June,
and Tony Abreu, who has started at third in five of the last six
games. Abreu, who was at third Monday at Arizona, is hitting .269
without a home run in 93 at-bats.
Garciaparra, an 11-year veteran, has played 34 games at third --
all with the Chicago Cubs in 2005. He had six errors and a .934
Garciaparra said Little approached him about the move on Sunday,
and that he immediately agreed to it.
"He asked me what I thought, and I said, 'I've told you from
way back when, before we even started the season, I'll play
wherever you want me to play,'" said Garciaparra, a longtime
former Boston shortstop. "My sentiment hasn't changed. Whatever he
feels, I'll be there.
"I haven't played over there in a year and a half, so that's
something that's going to be different," he said.
Garciaparra took grounders at third before the Dodgers opened a
four-game series at Arizona on Monday night. Little said he's
leaning toward starting Garciaparra at third base when the Dodgers
open a three-game series with San Diego on Friday night in Los
"I'm going to have to break in some gloves," Garciaparra said.
Little said Garciaparra would likely spend the rest of the
season at third.
"I'm not going to take a player like Nomar and change him and
positions like that if it's not going to be predominantly most of
the time," Little said.