TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - With Hanley Ramirez out for two months after having thumb surgery, the Los Angeles Dodgers need a plan at shortstop.
They started by taking a look at Nick Punto.
Punto played shortstop and went hitless in three at_bats Thursday in the Dodgers' 5-4 victory over a Chicago Cubs split squad.
``It's my natural position,' said Punto, who was obtained on Aug. 25 from the Boston Red Sox in a multiplayer deal. ``It comes back pretty quick. I would say that at this point in my career, I've played all the positions. But for a lot of us who have, it began at short.'
Ramirez was injured in the final of the World Baseball Classic while playing for the Dominican Republic on Tuesday night. Luis Cruz, Dee Gordon, Juan Uribe and Jerry Hairston Jr. are also under consideration.
Manager Don Mattingly remained uncertain about the decision. But he said he might move Cruz to shortstop from third base, where he has been all spring. Cruz played shortstop the first three weeks after the Dodgers obtained Ramirez from the Miami Marlins last season in late July.
``What calmed us down last year was when Luis went to short,' Mattingly said. ``That gives me multiple options at third.'
Alex Castellanos hit his fourth spring homer, a three-run drive against Scott Feldman, who was making his third appearance in spring since leaving Texas and signing with the Cubs. Feldman allowed four runs and seven hits and struck out five in five innings.
``I feel pretty good with three of my four pitches,' said Feldman, who is scheduled to pitch the fourth game of the regular season on April 6 in Atlanta. ``My changeup is one that I haven't thrown enough this spring. The ones I have thrown they really aren't game-ready.'
Starlin Castro homered off Dodgers starter Stephen Fife in the third inning. Fife gave up seven hits and struck out five in his fourth appearance this spring.
``Stephen has been great,' Mattingly said. ``He has come so far from last spring to this spring. He's back to confidently throwing the ball. He was at 96 mph there once and 95 a couple of times.'
The games was a charity event for the foundation named for 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, who was killed Jan. 8, 2011, in a Tucson shooting that critically wounded former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Taylor-Green's father is Los Angeles Dodgers scout John Green and her grandfather is former big league manager Dallas Green.
``We used to sing the national anthem together,' John Green said. ``Everywhere I go now to scout a game and I hear the anthem, that's what I think: I think of my little girl.'
NOTES: Dee Gordon didn't make the trip. He stayed in Phoenix with a mild ankle sprain. He hasn't played since Monday. . Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers' opening day starter, is scheduled to start Friday against the Cincinnati Reds.
The Associated Press News Service
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