Gordon and Figgins are making their case

Dee Gordon, a shortstop by trade, is trying to learn the nuances of second base. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

PHOENIX -- Baseball players aren't supposed to play basketball during the offseason, but a lot of them do anyway, as Aaron Boone will tell you, as an efficient way to stay in shape.

But Dee Gordon stopped playing basketball this winter to improve his baseball condition, and says he feels better than ever, as he tries to win what could be the most wide-open job competition for any would-be contender this spring -- the Dodgers' second-base job.

Mark Ellis is gone, and so is Nick Punto, and Skip Schumaker, and the early read on international signing Alexander Guerrero is that at best, he needs more time in the minors to learn about playing second base. The Dodgers have the makings of perhaps the best rotation in the majors, and one of the deepest bullpens, with a lineup of stars with star power.

But they don't have a second baseman.

So Gordon, Chone Figgins and others are here hoping to show they can give the Dodgers what they need out of the position -- steady defense, and at least some offensive contribution.