Donald focusing his attention on third base

Donald focusing his attention on third base

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jason Donald has plenty of time to take ground balls at second base and at shortstop. Right now, the Indians infielder knows the position he needs to focus his attention on is third base.

Since Donald arrived in Arizona, he has worked out exclusively at third, knowing that is the spot that gives him the best shot at cracking Cleveland's starting lineup. It is a situation that has the young infielder ready to get things officially under way here in the desert.

"I'm trying to embrace the opportunity," Donald said on Friday. "I'm excited."

Donald is well aware that he is among a long list of players in the mix for the vacant job at the hot corner. Also in the mix are Jayson Nix, Luis Valbuena and Jack Hannahan, along with youngsters such as Jared Goedert and Cord Phelps.

Donald -- acquired from the Phillies as part of the July 2009 trade that sent Cliff Lee to Philadelphia -- is a shortstop by trade, but manned second for a considerable part of the 2010 season with the Indians. Now he is being asked to try his hand at third, where he has limited experience.

Donald, 26, said he played some third during his first season at Triple-A in 2009 and he also spent some time at that spot in the Arizona Fall League after the '08 season. That is the extent of his experience at the position.

So what does Donald think of possibly moving to third again?

"We'll just have to wait and see, really," he said. "Right now, I'm just putting in the work, getting ground balls over there. During batting practice, I'll go over to third and see balls off the bat and see what that looks like to give me a better feel."

Entering Spring Training, Donald was viewed as an option for second base, and he still could see time at that position this year. Right now, though, recently signed veteran Orlando Cabrera is the front-runner to land the starting job at second. That's fine with Donald.

"Orlando coming here, that's a huge addition for us," he said.

Donald said the biggest challenge at third base is getting used to the different angles and spin baseballs take off the bat. He will concentrate his workouts on third throughout the spring, but Donald has been told that he will also see action at second and short.

"Whatever's put in front of me," Donald said, "I want to take it full steam ahead."