Dodgers new second baseman Orlando Hudson was scratched from the starting lineup one hour before Wednesday’s exhibition game against the Giants. Hudson said he had to leave early to attend to personal business, that there was nothing wrong with him physically and he expected to play Thursday. He’s coming off a serious injury to his left wrist, which required two operations and cut short his 2008 season, but it hasn’t seemed to bother him since he arrived after signing 11 days ago. He was replaced in the lineup by Chin-lung Hu. — Ken Gurnick
Manager Joe Torre Sunday morning said he will continue to carefully handle reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, whose four elbow operations have taken their toll. Torre said he was told by trainer Stan Conte that Kuo is experiencing the same elbow “issues” as last spring, but “not quite as bad,” and not the same that sidelined Kuo last September.
Torre said 200 innings were realistic for Clayton Kershaw, who turns 21 next month. Kershaw threw a combined 171 innings last year, including 61 1/3 at Double-A.
Newly arrived second baseman Orlando Hudson is expected to play in Monday’s intrasquad game, with Jason Schmidt scheduled to pitch. Hudson will see his first game action since undergoing two operations in August to repair a dislocated fracture of his left wrist. It will be Schmidt’s first game action since undergoing a second shoulder operation in September.
Cory Wade, out a week after a cortisone injection in his right shoulder, will resume playing catch Monday. Yhency Brazoban had a cortisone injection Saturday and will be sidelined several days. — Ken Gurnick
Orlando Hudson was expected to arrive at Camelback Ranch-Glendale Saturday morning for his physical exam. If his healing left wrist passes, he will become the Dodgers’ new second baseman, displacing Blake DeWitt, after agreeing to a one-year deal for $3.38 million with incentives that could take it to $8 million. Manager Joe Torre said he spoke with DeWitt and told him his role has not been decided, but that he should work out at several positions, including shortstop. It’s conceivable Hudson’s dislocated wrist wouldn’t be 100 percent by Opening Day and DeWitt could still make the club. As for a utility role, Torre implied that a healthy Tony Abreu would be more likely because he can play shortstop, presumably with DeWitt playing every day at Triple-A. But Abreu needs to show he’s shaken two years of injuries.
Torre indicated a healthy switch-hitting Hudson would be a good fit to bat second behind Rafael Furcal and that he might move Casey Blake to left field (and DeWitt to third), but that was more a double-switch option than for every-day positioning. Torre emphasized he still is counting on unsigned free agent Manny Ramirez to start in left field. — Ken Gurnick
The Dodgers and free-agent second baseman Orlando Hudson have agreed on a one-year contract with a base of $3.4 million and incentives that could take the total to $8 million, baseball sources confirmed Friday. Hudson will take over for the retired Jeff Kent, displacing Blake DeWitt, who came into Spring Training as the starting second baseman. Terms were not available. The deal apparently came together when it was reported that the Dodgers were also talking with free agent infielder Orlando Cabrera. — Ken Gurnick
The Dodgers, apparently uncertain they can work a deal for free-agent second baseman Orlando Hudson, have opened talks with free-agent infielder Orlando Cabrera. The 34-year-old Cabrera, a two-time Gold Glove shortstop, told the club he would be willing to move to second base, where Blake DeWitt entered Spring Training as the heir apparent to retired second baseman Jeff Kent. Shortstop is locked up with the re-signing of Rafael Furcal to a three-year, $30 million deal. Cabrera earned $10 million last year playing for the Chicago White Sox and, like Hudson, was seeking riches in the free-agent market that collapsed along with the global economy. — Ken Gurnick
The collapse of the free-agent market has dropped second baseman Orlando Hudson’s contract demands to a level that interests the Dodgers, and general manager Ned Colletti confirmed Wednesday that talks are ongoing.
Colletti said he has payroll “flexibility” unrelated to efforts to sign Manny Ramirez which Colletti said continue, He added that interest in Hudson does not mean he lacks confidence in Blake DeWitt, who came into Spring Training as the incumbent second baseman after the retirement of Jeff Kent.
“I’m big on inventory,” Colletti said.
Hudson is coming off a season shortened by a broken wrist. — Ken Gurnick