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Friday, March 26, 2010
Belliard gets guaranteed contract

By Tony Jackson
ESPNLosAngeles.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Ronnie Belliard weighed in at 208 pounds earlier this week, officially guaranteeing the one-year, $825,000 contract he signed with the Dodgers last winter. There was a clause in Belliard's contract that the deal would be guaranteed only if he got his weight down to no more than 209 pounds.

The development clears up at least one question about the Dodgers' Opening Day roster: whether Belliard will be on it. It also probably eliminates non-roster infielder Nick Green from consideration unless the club decides to send Blake DeWitt back to the minors. DeWitt is trying to win the everyday second base job and is hitting .350 with a .458 on-base percentage in the Cactus League.

However, club officials might decide to keep Green because he is a more viable option as a backup shortstop -- he played 81 games there for Boston last season -- than Jamey Carroll, who has a guaranteed contract but hasn't played shortstop since 2007. Starting shortstop Rafael Furcal, who has a history of back problems, is expected to need occasional days off this season to prevent him from breaking down.

Green also has an escape clause in his contract if he doesn't make the club, and Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti tends to err on the side of keeping as many players in the organization as possible. If Green makes the team and the Dodgers open with 12 pitchers, there probably won't be a roster spot available for DeWitt, who still has minor league options.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.