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Dodgers rumors: Scott Rolen interest confirmed

Manager Don Mattingly reached out to the veteran third baseman recently to gauge his desire to return to baseball.

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

The Los Angeles Dodgers reached out to third baseman Scott Rolen recently and view the veteran as a legitimate option at the hot corner is he decides to stay retirement for another year, reports Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register:

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly reiterated Saturday that Luis Cruz will get the first shot at being the team's everyday third baseman this spring.

But that didn't stop Mattingly from talking with Scott Rolen to feel out the possibility of adding the free agent as a veteran option. Mattingly confirmed the Dodgers have had internal discussions about that possibility and he reached out to the fellow Indiana native a few weeks ago in a preliminary attempt to gauge Rolen's interest.

Rolen, 37, has been mulling the idea of retirement all winter. The Cincinnati Reds have been keeping a spot warm on their roster for Rolen -- and are likely the veteran's first choice should he return -- but manager Dusty Baker said recently that time is running out.

If the Reds do decide to turn elsewhere for a second-string third baseman, and Rolen still wants to continue playing, then the Dodgers will become a legitimate contender for his services.

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A seven-time All-Star and six-time Gold Glove winner, Rolen is a career .281/.364/.490 hitter with 316 home runs in 17 years of big-league baseball.

Back and shoulder injuries have plagued Rolen's last two seasons -- limiting him to just 157 games in that span and causing his offensive numbers to drop off a cliff -- but he is still an elite defender at the hot corner and would be a nice alternative for the Dodgers to Cruz, who is a shortstop by trade and who played way over his head in 2012.

If Cruz does not pan out and Rolen opts for the Reds or retirement, Los Angeles still has the option of pushing Hanley Ramirez to third and giving Dee Gordon another shot at shortstop.