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Cesar Izturis: Dodgers new 3B

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Cesar Izturis: Dodgers new 3B

Postby The Big Train » Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:06 am

Sounds like "E-5" could become a commonly heard saying at Dodger Stadium....



LOS ANGELES -- Ready or not, Cesar Izturis starts at third base for the Dodgers Thursday night.

It's an ambitious experiment, to turn the Gold Glove shortstop into a third baseman in two days after the Dodgers gave Nomar Garciaparra an entire Spring Training to move from the left side of the infield to first base.

Ironically, Garciaparra said he moved from short to third last year with the Cubs on one day's notice when Aramis Ramirez was injured.

"It's not easy and he's going to make mistakes," Garciaparra said of Izturis. "Instead of putting a lot of things in his head, I just told him he'll learn by his mistakes and not to hesitate to ask questions. Everybody realizes it's not easy, and we all appreciate what he's doing for the team. To do it on the fly says a lot about him."

Izturis, after taking ground balls at third for the second day and bouncing many throws, said he's not yet comfortable at a position he hasn't played except for two innings of Instructional League.

"It's a lot different than shortstop," said Izturis. "I'll be nervous."

Izturis will be making his first Major League start since returning from Tommy John elbow reconstruction. It was Dr. Frank Jobe's hope that Izturis would return as a second baseman to put less stress on his elbow, which also has degenerative arthritis.

Nobody considered third base until it became clear that Bill Mueller might not return from knee surgery this year, or ever. Izturis just completed a month-long Minor League assignment without playing the position.

Izturis, an All-Star last year, lost his starting shortstop job because of the injury, as Rafael Furcal was signed to replace him. Manager Grady Little made it clear to Izturis last week that if he wanted significant playing time, it would come only at third base. After initially resisting, Izturis said he reluctantly agreed because he had little choice if he wanted to play.

"I have to show everybody that I'm healthy," said Izturis, who will play with a glove borrowed from Furcal that is one inch longer than Izturis' shortstop glove.

The assumption is that a healthy Izturis would be dangled to acquire pitching help before next month's trade deadline. The irony is that if Izturis handles the position and provides offense, the Dodgers might need to keep him there.

"A lot will be dictated by the offense he brings," said Little, who caught Izturis' throws at first base during drills, but hasn't seen him play on a daily basis. "We feel he'll bring a little more excitement to the lineup and hope that will be the case. He understands there still might be a few things that happen in the course of the game that won't be routine. I, we, whoever watches should not make a hurried decision on it. We know everything will not run smoothly every single play down there. He understands that too."
Little said he never asked Furcal if he would play third base. He also said he wouldn't be surprised if Izturis makes the transition in "two or three days" because "he's a good enough athlete."

Izturis isn't so sure about that.

"I've got to make the adjustment and get used to it," he said. "It's different. The tough play is the slow roller to the backhand side. My first game, it'll be like Opening Day. Like last night. A little butterflies, a little nervous."

Izturis said his elbow occasionally is stiff when he first hits the field, but it loosens quickly. His arm action appears to be shorter and quicker than before the surgery.
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"Trying to hit him was like trying to drink coffee with a fork." - Willie Stargell on Sandy Koufax
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Postby johnsamo » Thu Jun 22, 2006 6:38 am

Degenerative arthritis? Get thee to 2nd base if you want a career. I guess he has to play 3rd though to prove he can be productive at the plate... tough break.

Not that he'd do it, but for the team, Jeff Kent ought to fill in at 3rd while Mueller's out, because Izturus sounds like his arm isn't ready for 3rd and Kent is healthy.
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Postby The Loveable Losers » Thu Jun 22, 2006 9:34 am

johnsamo wrote:Degenerative arthritis? Get thee to 2nd base if you want a career. I guess he has to play 3rd though to prove he can be productive at the plate... tough break.

Not that he'd do it, but for the team, Jeff Kent ought to fill in at 3rd while Mueller's out, because Izturus sounds like his arm isn't ready for 3rd and Kent is healthy.


Absolutely!!! You don't make the guy with degenerative arthritis play third base. That would be like telling Jeff Bagwell to go out there and play right field. Of course Kent is a big prick so there's no way he's going to move to third base for Izturus.
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Postby FuriousGeorge » Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:07 pm

Idiotic, they have so many better options to cover for an injured Mueller. Why don't they put Garciaparra at third, let Caesar play second and Kent play first? Or maybe let Furcal with his arm make the throws and let Caesar play SS with slightly shorter throws? Seems like they dont give a crap about him injuring himself again. In any case it shouldn't be long before they call up Joel Guzman to play third, either after Izturis miraculously stays healthy through their mistreatment and can be traded, or necesssitated by injury through the Dodgers' abuse.
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Postby jealousblues » Thu Jun 22, 2006 5:40 pm

They should trade him to us, the Cards to play 2b. It would be annoying to be a GG SS andhave to be on the dodgers bench.
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Postby johnsamo » Thu Jun 22, 2006 6:08 pm

Izturis has trade value now, but if he proves he can hit like he was pre-injury, his value goes way up. It's a shame Kent's a dick and won't take one for the team and make the move. I know Nomar would be wiling, but he's such an injury risk I'd chain him to first base for the rest of his career.
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