Originally created 03/17/04

Green glad to be back in right field



VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Shawn Green is back in right field and happy to be there.

Green, a right fielder his entire career, had been working out at first base all spring until Los Angeles Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said Monday that the two-time All-Star would return to his original position.

Green played right field Tuesday for the first time this spring in an exhibition game against the Atlanta Braves that was canceled because of rain in the fourth inning.

Green said the plan all along called for him to move to first base only if the Dodgers had added another outfielder.

"Now that the situation is what it is as of Tuesday, March 16, we need to move forward and settle in with the thought in mind that this is where we're going to be as of opening day," Tracy said Tuesday. "We need to move the pieces where they best fit at this point."

The 31-year-old Green said he was gradually growing more comfortable at first base, but admitted he felt more at home in right field.

"It's definitely easier to go out and play a position you've played your whole career," he said.

The Dodgers left open the possibility that Green could move back to first if an outfielder is added during the season, although he won't shift back and forth between the two positions.

Green's move creates a domino effect throughout the lineup. Juan Encarnacion, acquired from the Florida Marlins in December, moves from right field to left. Encarnacion hasn't played left field since 1999 when he was with the Detroit Tigers.

Robin Ventura, a six-time Gold Glove winner at third base, is the leading candidate to get most of the playing time at first. Ventura, 37, played first after the Dodgers acquired him from the New York Yankees last July.

"Right now, we have one of the best defensive players in the game playing first in Robin," Green said. "Put him with the other guys we have on the infield and it's pretty fun to watch."

Catcher Paul Lo Duca and utilityman Jolbert Cabrera also could fill in at first along with non-roster players Olmedo Saenz and Luis Garcia.

That probably leaves Bubba Trammell coming off the bench. Trammell was the leading contender to start in left field if Green stayed at first and the Dodgers didn't add another outfielder.

"Whatever they want me to do, I'll do," Trammell said. "I signed here knowing there was a chance I'd be a role player. If I happen to go out there and play a lot, I still think I'm one of those guys who can get you 25-30 home runs guaranteed."

Notes: LHP Kazuhisa Ishii struck out four in two scoreless innings before the rain came. He struggled his first two appearances while adjusting to changes in his delivery. "I'm just kind of slowly making progress right now," Ishii said through an interpreter. "My ultimate goal is just to be prepared for the season. When the season starts, I don't want to pull the team down."