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Bad harbinger for DeWitt? He sits against Diamondbacks

April 15, 2010 |  8:24 pm
How much patience will the Dodgers show Blake DeWitt?

How long before Ronnie Belliard, hitting .538, and Jamey Carroll, hitting .333, force themselves into the lineup?

How long a leash did the Dodgers bring from Phoenix for DeWitt?

DeWitt was benched Thursday against the Diamondbacks, and you have to wonder how long he’ll get to prove himself at second base. I’m thinking he won’t get as long a look as he’s earned.

One day after praising DeWitt’s at-bats in earning a team-high eight walks, Manager Joe Torre said DeWitt was struggling at the plate.

This was Torre Wednesday on DeWitt:

``He’s really having good at-bats. And a lot of those walks, he falling behind in the count but he’s fouled off pitches. He just seems very comfortable right now and it’s great to see that.’’

And this was Torre Thursday on DeWitt:

``We all know he's working hard, [but] right now he's fighting himself a little bit offensively. He’s having some good at-bats but fouling balls off that he probably should put in play. He’s getting a little too big of a swing.’’

The only thing that changed from one day to the next was DeWitt going 0 for 5 Wednesday. Good at-bats apparently don't translate into good hitting.

DeWitt led the team in several offensive categories this spring and clearly won the starting position, though he did begin to taper off some toward the end.

But he’s started this season hitting just .200 (four for 20), and none of his hits have been for extra bases.

``The swing isn’t where it should be,’’ Torre said. ``He’s having good at-bats, but his mechanics need a little tweaking. He sort of gets a little too long. It’s like a pitcher overthrowing the ball. He doesn’t know he’s doing it.

``Plus, against [Dan] Haren, he’s like 0 for 10 with (five) strikeouts. There’s no sense in ignoring that. I only pay attention to stats when it gets my attention.’’

Well, there was that. It was assumed DeWitt was being benched only for the night, though to be honest, Torre wasn’t asked how long he was being sat down.

He did say that the hot-hitting Belliard would start Saturday and Sunday against the Giants, although he’ll probably start at first on Sunday and could be at third Saturday.

``He’ll play enough to still be effective on the bench for us,’’ Torre said.

Belliard, 35, hit .351 after being acquired late last summer and eventually beat out Orlando Hudson and was the regular second baseman in the playoffs.

Torre knows what to expect from Belliard. DeWitt probably needs to prove himself quickly, or he could be looking at yet another trip back to the minors.

Update: DeWitt pinch hit in the eighth and grounded out to third. He remained in the game and singled to lead off the 10th and scored the winning run on Andre Ethier's basehit.


__ Steve Dilbeck
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