Thursday, February 26, 2009

Doug Mientkiewicz looks to earn a spot

Add Doug Mientkiewicz to the list of veteran names who have signed Minor League contracts with the Dodgers. His goal will be to backup James Loney and be a key left-handed hitter off the bench.

Mientkiewicz's biggest strength has long been his defensive ability, as he won a Gold Glove in 2001 with the Minnesota Twins. Last year he hit .277, but with an encouraging .374 OBP. Another good sign is that he took 44 walks while only striking out 28 times.

His odds of making the team are probably about 50-50. On one hand there's already utility guys in the infield who will see some time like Blake DeWitt and Mark Loretta. There's also Tony Abreu and Juan Castro looking to earn a spot. So it won't be easy.

The defense for Mientkiewicz will never be in question. What he has to hope for is that his bat will show enough spark that the Dodgers can trust him over a younger guy. It could happen.

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