The Dodgers can talk all they want about the vigorous competition at second base but Chad Fonville intends to win the job.
“I plan to get in front of the pack, play Chad’s game, and close the door,” Fonville said Monday.
“I believe I’m an everyday player, and come opening day, hopefully I’ll be the guy out there at second base.”
Fonville, the sparkplug and fan favorite of the 1995 team who was demoted to Albuquerque last year, realizes that his future hinges on this spring. He still has yet to fully recover from a partial rotator-cuff tear that he suffered during winter ball, but says it won’t be a hindrance.
“He’s going to get as good a shot as anybody at second base,” Bill Russell said. “The name of the game is consistency. He knows it. It’s just a matter of him doing it. I’d just like to see him get back to where he was two years ago.”
Pitcher Hideo Nomo realizes the comparisons and rivalry will begin immediately if Japanese pitcher Hideki Irabu joins the big leagues this season. Even so, he says, he can’t wait for Irabu’s arrival.
Major league baseball must first decide if Irabu’s rights belong to the San Diego Padres or he is a free agent.
“He’s a good friend of mine and he’s going through a hard time,” Nomo said. “This is very hard for a player, especially since spring training already started. I just hope it’s solved soon so that one day we can pitch against each other.”