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Dodgers send down Jerry Sands, call up Trent Oeltjen

June 9, 2011 |  2:55 pm

So, about the Dodgers' amazing youth movement ...

Yeah, well, one step forward. It seems, however, that Jerry Sands was deemed to have taken one step too many backward, and, really, that's tough to argue.

Since his second -- and most recent -- home run May 24, he has three hits in 35 at-bats, all singles.

He is struggling, which is to be expected for a rookie in his first time up. And, as they say, he needs regular playing time. That is something he is not likely to see now that right-handed batting Marcus Thames is off the disabled list.

So before their game Thursday at Colorado, the Dodgers optioned Sands to triple-A Albuquerque and recalled left-handed hitting outfielder Trent Oeltjen.

It's not as though this is some permanent move for Sands, nor he was a major bust. Still, he was not exactly the phenom Dodgers fans were hoping for either. He heads back down hitting .200 with two home runs and 17 runs batted in in 125 at-bats, and with a .294 on-base percentage and a .328 slugging percentage.

He did have 10 doubles, which was third best on the club, so it's not as though he was never driving the ball.

Still, he clearly could benefit from some extra Carnauba. He will play regularly at Albuquerque, work on those things he now knows need attention and return a more confident player, and most certainly this season.

This also, of course, means the Dodgers are going to give Thames a real shot at playing and earning the faith they put in him when he was signed in the off-season.

Then, he was supposed to be paired in a platoon in left field with Jay Gibbons, who was designated for assignment Monday. Now, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Oeltjen (.339, eight home runs, 34 RBIs, .429 on-base percentage, .583 slugging percentage) will be the left-handed complements to Thames. And you have to wonder how long his rope is.

To make room for Oeltjen on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers outrighted right-hander Luis Vasquez, 25, from Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.

The Dodgers remain plenty youthful and Sands is a huge part of their future. His make-up, his approach and his ability remain untarnished. For the moment, though, this feels like the right move.

-- Steve Dilbeck

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