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Darwin Barney prepared for utility role

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Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Darwin Barney was acquired by the Dodgers last year just before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Those months he spent on the 2014 Dodgers led him to make a quick decision this off-season.

"I really enjoyed the way I felt coming into work everyday last year" said Barney on Sunday, "I enjoyed the feelings of the games, our primary goal. I made it priority to try come back here and really happy to still be here."

The Dodgers signed the infielder to a one-year, $2.525 million contract just prior to the non-tender deadline in December, avoiding salary arbitration in the process. That gave Barney a chance to base some of his off-season work on what moves the Dodgers made.

"I had the luxury of signing before the winter meetings, so I could watch what the team was doing," Barney said. "Once a guy like [Miguel] Rojas gets moved, it was kind of self-explanatory."

Barney was primarily a shortstop in college and started there in the Cubs organization but settled in as the starting second baseman in Chicago in 2011. He said he has always been ready to play shortstop.

"First two years, I was the backup shortstop as well as the second baseman," Barney said. "There's definitely been work there but I focused on [shortstop] a little more in the off-season."

Barney might also play some third base this spring for the just-in-case scenario.

"I'll probably get reps over there," said Barney, "it is definitely valuable to have guys that could move all over in case something happens, extra innings, you got to move me over there."

Over the weekend, Barney worked in the same infield group with Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins. He didn't know if that was planned or just how things worked out, though manager Don Mattingly didn't think there was any significance to that grouping.

"Barney will move back and forth between positions," Mattingly said. "We'll give him reps at different spots and getting him used to a lot of different situations."

In his 3½ years as the regular second baseman in Chicago, Barney was rated well above average on defense, checking in at +50 runs per Defensive Runs Saved, +36.7 runs per Ultimate Zone Rating, and +27 runs per Total Zone Rating. Barney is aware of defensive metrics but hasn't seen them in respect to how well he plays.  Barney has a simple of way measuring his performance.

"For me you are trying to get outs behind your pitchers, whether I am ranging far or not, Barney said. "For me, my job is to keep the pitchers happy so that is kind of how base how I am doing."