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Monday, March 28, 2011
Updated: March 29, 11:26 AM ET
Dodgers' infield: The weakest link?

By Jon Weisman
ESPNLosAngeles.com

Rafael Furcal, Juan Uribe, James Loney
Injuries and age are a factor in the Dodgers' infield this season.

With Casey Blake and Rafael Furcal frequent fliers on the disabled list, this could be the Dodgers' weakest unit. It would make a huge difference if James Loney could fulfill his potential.


INFIELDERS

James Loney

Here's the argument against Loney: 85-90 RBIs aren't that special if you get more than 300 plate appearances a year with runners on base. Here's the argument for him: He still has the potential to quiet all the naysayers.


Juan Uribe

Last fall's San Francisco treat had a career-high 24 homers in 2010, and at age 31 shouldn't be over the hill. The worry is that, thanks to a career .300 on-base percentage, it's not that big a hill to begin with.


Rafael Furcal

What would the Dodgers give for a healthy, productive 2011 from the oft-injured Furcal? Well, one answer would be $12 million, the size of his 2012 option that automatically vests if he reaches 600 plate appearances this season.


Casey Blake

A brutal July (.556 OPS, 26 strikeouts) brought Blake's 2010 to its knees, and his attempt to rebound in 2011 has been waylaid by his back. A best-case scenario would have Blake playing mainly against lefties, whom he habitually hammers.


Jamey Carroll

Last year's most pleasant surprise among the position players, Carroll will be counted on, at age 37, to provide support at no fewer than three positions. But if he racks up 400-plus plate appearances again, the Dodgers' season probably went awry.


Ivan De Jesus
De Jesus

Ivan De Jesus Jr.

Not since Blake DeWitt has a Dodgers rookie started Opening Day, and the chance of De Jesus doing so is barely less of a surprise. That he could herald the next class of Dodgers prospects is as tantalizing as it is precarious.


Aaron Miles

Don't let his hot spring training fool you: Miles is one of those hitters who doesn't hit homers (none in the past two years) or walk (14). He'll field a ball that comes at him, and there's your 25th man.

CATCHERS

Rod Barajas

Like they did with Marlon Anderson and Ronnie Belliard before him, the Dodgers are taking a chance that late-season pickup Barajas can produce for more than a month. Fans will keep an eye on whether he outhits Russell Martin.


Dioner Navarro

When the 2005 season began, Navarro was the youngest regular Dodger catcher in a quarter-century, since Mike Scioscia. He's still only 27, but like the guy who replaced him, Martin, Navarro is trying to prove he's not over the hill.


Hector Gimenez
Gimenez

Hector Gimenez

Though his offseason signing could hardly have received less attention, that .916 OPS in Double-A last year, once you noticed it, was enough for a double take. He had a charmed spring training -- could folk-hero status possibly await?

MORE DODGERS ROSTER ANALYSIS: Pitching »  Outfield »

Jon Weisman is author of the Dodger Thoughts blog on ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.