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
Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he plans to give Rafael Furcal a day off a week early in the season to avoid overworking the shortstop, who is coming off back surgery.
Torre also said Jason Schmidt is tentatively scheduled to pitch Monday in an intrasquad game and next Friday in a “B” game against the Chicago White Sox. That would put Schmidt way ahead of last year, when he suffered a quick setback in the Spring and never faced batters coming off his first shoulder surgery, then required a second procedure in September. — Ken Gurnick
Shortstop and leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal reported to Camelback Ranch-Glendale for Thursday’s first full-squad workout, saying he’s healthy and hoping the Dodgers sign Manny Ramirez to drive him in. Furcal said he hasn’t spoken to Ramirez since the season ended. He said playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic reassured him that his surgically repaired back is fully healed. Despite missing most of last season with a bulging disk, the free agent received a three-year, $30 million contract to stay with the Dodgers. — Ken Gurnick