Loney’s spot on the team probably depends more on something far beyond his control. After all, the first thing the Dodgers must have if they are to keep Loney is a roster spot to put him in. And that probably hinges on keeping only 11pitchers, something the club likely will do because it won’t need a fifth starter until April10. “That helps his cause, just like it helps Andy La Roche’s cause and Matt Kemp’s cause,” Colletti said. “We know (Loney) can hit, and we know first base won’t be a problem for him. But certainly, his ability to be versatile defensively will also help make his case.” Loney made his major- league debut and had three callups last season, interspersed with a run at Triple-A Las Vegas in which he won the Pacific Coast League batting title by posting an average (.380) that was 43 points better than anyone else’s. But Loney also hit only eight home runs in 366 minor-league at-bats last season in a league where almost every ballpark is hitter-friendly. Saito returns: Closer Takashi Saito, who has been limited in running, but not in throwing by a strained right calf, finally made his spring debut, pitching a scoreless fifth inning. The double by Bennett that Loney misjudged was the only hit allowed by Saito, who didn’t get to test his calf because he wasn’t involved in any defensive plays. Cutting remark: Although he previously said the camp roster probably wouldn’t be pared down until March 15, Dodgers manager Grady Little now says the first round of cuts might come later this week. “With 58 players, it’s going to get harder to get enough work for everyone,” Little said. [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Loney played the entire game, going 3 for 3 with a walk to raise his spring average to .421 and his on-base percentage to .500. But he also played the first five innings in right field, his first appearance there this spring – but in no way his last – and he looked utterly lost. In the first, Loney got a late jump on a fly ball by Scott Rolen, allowing it to fall in front of him for a key hit in what became a four-run inning for the Cardinals. Loney later let another ball hit by Rolen fall just to the foul side of the line, and then broke in on a routine fly ball by Gary Bennett that flew over his head and rolled to the wall. VERO BEACH, Fla. – James Loney was talking, laughing and trying to be analytical after the daytime half of Wednesday’s Grapefruit League doubleheader, so there was no doubt he was alive. But the dark, orange circles ringing his irises made him look like one of the zombies from “Night of the Living Dead.” The Dodgers first-base prospect was wearing sunglass- tinted contact lenses, one of the latest innovations in optical wear. But even on a blindingly bright afternoon when the Dodgers fell 11-1 to the world champion St. Louis Cardinals in front of 4,525 at Holman Stadium, those uber-cool shades didn’t help Loney see any more clearly into his immediate future. In fairness to Loney, it was a bad afternoon to be playing an unfamiliar position. “I don’t think this was a fair day to judge him,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. “It was windy, and it was a tough sky.” Still, the ability to play multiple positions might end up being a deciding factor in whether Loney – the man who came to spring training perched more squarely on the proverbial bubble than any other Dodgers player – makes this club. “They haven’t really talked to me about it, but I want to do the best I can do out there,” said Loney, 22, the club’s first-round pick in the 2002 amateur draft. “What I need to work on is (tracking) balls hit from that angle.” Ultimately, though, it might not matter.