The battle for the starting second base job for the Dodgers is about as heated as it could be.
Alex Guerrero, the Cuban infielder the Dodgers signed in the off-season, was tabbed as the second baseman in waiting. But, he is a natural shortstop and learning a new position. Reports out of spring training in Arizona indicate that he might start the season in the minor leagues as he learns his new position.
Dee Gordon has been splitting time with Guerrero at second base in spring training. Guerrero has started four games, Gordon three.
There are a handful of other players in the mix for the starting second base job, but none have been seeing the same amount of playing time as Guerrero and Gordon. Justin Turner and Chone Figgins could play into the mix. But, for now, Guerrero and Gordon are battling for the starting second base spot.
Through seven games in spring training, Guerrero and Gordon have been pretty equal offensively. Guerrero is hitting .267, but not showing much power. He was touted as a power-hitting infielder when the Dodgers brought him on board in the winter.
Gordon is hitting .273. He apparently has bulked up, from 135 pounds to around 170 pounds. He has a little more power, but his biggest weapon is his speed.
Gordon is also learning a new position. He was the Dodgers starting shortstop on opening day a couple of years ago. But, with Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, Gordon has little chance of overtaking that spot in the coming years.
It looks like Gordon will get every chance to start at second base for the Dodgers when the season opens. Whether or not he stays as the starter is up in the air.
The Dodgers would be wise to have some patience with Guerrero. It could be a similar situation with the way the Dodgers handled Yasiel Puig last season. Puig started in the minor leagues before being called up and setting the major leagues on fire.
Guerrero will probably start the season in the minors as well. Let’s hope the Dodgers don’t wait too long before bringing him up to the big leagues.
Lakers fans have been divided into two camps: Team Tank and Team Hope.
Team Tank wants the Lakers to lose as many games as possible and have as good as chance as possible to have a high draft pick in the lottery.
Team Hope wants the Lakers to keep winning and stay respectable enough to attract some decent free agents in the off season.
After 59 games, the Lakers are 20-39. They are in the midst of one of their worst seasons in franchise history. This year’s NBA draft is being touted as one of the deepest in years. The Lakers, even if they don’t have the No. 1 pick, will most likely get a top player in the draft if they continue to lose.
But. the Lakers rarely build teams through the draft. Sure, they landed Kobe Bryant on a draft day trade. They drafted Magic Johnson and James Worthy. But, for the most part, the Lakers build championship teams through free agency. Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, all key players on championship Lakers teams, and all free agents.
Team Tank doesn’t know how the Lakers operate. Team Hope knows the Lakers will rebound quickly enough. Of course, in today’s NBA, that type of rebound might take a few years. Accept that Nick Young is the new Cedric Caballos and don’t panic.
Meanwhile, the Clippers have shown signs of life. They have won four games in a row, including impressive wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road and the Houston Rockets.
The Clippers might have a playoff pulse after all. Plus, they seem to be improving their roster with adding Danny Granger. Of course, all bets are off if Chris Paul gets hurt in the playoffs.
Boys High School Basketball
The Santa Clarita Christian School boys basketball team is in the championship game of the Division 5A playoffs. This is SCCS’s first trip to a CIF title game in basketball.
The Cardinals will play Renaissance Academy, the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, on Saturday at Godinez High School. The game is set to start at 9:30 a.m.
SCCS is the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. The SCCS boys eliminated Capistrano Valley, 52-45, in the semifinals.
The Trinity Classical Academy boys basketball team is back in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 championship game for the second year in a row. The Knights knocked out Laguna Blanca, 59-38, in the semifinals. They are the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and have a chance to win the first CIF championship in boys basketball since Saugus in 1987. Trinity reached the championship game last year and lost to Rio Honda Prep.
This year, Trinity will play Desert Chapel of Palm Springs for the Division 6 championship Saturday at Godinez High School in Santa Ana.
Renaissance Academy reached the Division 5A final after beating Orangewood Academy, 52-29, in the other semifinal.
Tim Haddock is the sports director at KHTS AM 1220. He writes for the SCV Beacon, the Ventura County Star, the Team USA website and covers auto racing for the K&N website. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @thaddock.