VERO BEACH, Fla. -- A day after Milton Bradley staked his
claim to center field for the Los Angeles Dodgers, J.D. Drew
downplayed what could become one of the most heated position
battles in spring training.
The free agent signee, who spent the last seven seasons as the
right fielder in St. Louis and Atlanta, expressed interest in
moving to center when he joined the Dodgers in the offseason.
"I think there's been a much bigger deal made out of it than
what it's going to be," Drew said Wednesday, adding he has not
spoken to Bradley on the subject.
"If it works out and it happens (that I'm in center) and
Milton's fine with it, that's good. If Milton says, 'Man, I would
so much rather be (in center), I don't feel comfortable in right
field at all,' then we'll talk about it and go from there. But I'm
not foreseeing that as being an issue at all."
Manager Jim Tracy has said Bradley, Drew, left fielder Jayson Werth and backup outfielder Ricky Ledee all will see time in center
this spring. But he said Werth will be in left when the season
starts April 5, leaving the battle for center to Bradley and Drew.
Drew said he has talked to Tracy and told him he would like a
shot in center field, but that whatever decision Tracy makes, he
will abide by.
"He's the manager of the team and whatever he says I will
respect," Drew said. "I'm not a guy who is going to come in here
and change lineups and throw fits if I can't get my way."
Bradley was the Dodgers' center fielder for much of last year
before moving to right when the team acquired Steve Finley for the
Bradley said Tuesday he gladly made the switch because he felt
it was the best way for the team to make the playoffs. But he also
said he was told at the time that the switch was temporary.
"I'm the best center fielder in camp and that's where I expect
to be playing," Bradley said.
Drew, who played center field in high school, was an
All-American at the position at Florida State and has seen some
time at the position in the majors, would like to play center to
ease the wear-and-tear on his surgically repaired, and oft-injured,
"I talked to (Tracy) a little bit on that," Drew said. "The
only thing that affects my knee is slamming on the brakes and
there's a lot of slamming on the brakes in the corner in right
Starting pitcher Brad Penny had his second bullpen session
of the spring. He threw 37 pitches in a light workout, more than
double what the right-hander threw in his first trip to the mound
Monday. "I felt good," he said. "I'll be back out there
Friday." Monday's workout was very light and Penny said he put
slightly more zip on the ball. After his pitches from the mound, he
moved down in front of the hill onto flat ground and fired seven or
eight more throws in with a lot of intensity. Penny is coming off a
rare nerve injury to his right biceps suffered last August and
re-aggravated in late September. His is considered a key to the
team's success this year if healthy, giving the Dodgers a solid
starter at the front of the rotation.