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Do you believe in Jerry Sands?

September 18, 2011 |  8:18 am

Jerry-sands_600

Not 100% certain yet? Guess what, you’ve got 10 games left to make up your mind. Just like the Dodgers.

The Dodgers need to go into the off-season either feeling good about giving a regular spot in the lineup to Jerry Sands next year or determining he needs more time at triple-A. One way or another, they have to make up their minds.

It’s not much time to make a fairly significant decision. And though it’s hardly binding, they have to have a plan. They’re not going to learn any more about his readiness in the winter.

Sands was their organizational minor league player of the year last season, one of their few prospects with power. But he struggled in his first stint up this season, batting .200 with just two homers and 17 RBI in 125 at-bats and was returned to triple-A to work on a new hitting stance.

Then when he first returned in September, he started 1 for 14.

Since then, however, Sands has turned it around. In the first six games of the Dodgers’ current homestand he is 11 for 21.

"He looks like he’s getting more comfortable," said Manager Don Mattingly. "I was just talking to him today and he feels like he’s settling down, and everything is slowing down a little bit. Hopefully we just kind of watch the rest of the season and the Jerry we feel like is there, we’re going to see a lot more of it."

Knowing the Dodgers have to make a decision on him, Mattingly has been playing Sands every day since he joined the team Sept. 8.

"I’m getting comfortable in the box, and the hits definitely bring confidence," Sands said.

Sands will turn 24 on Sept. 28, so it’s not like it’s now or never for him. But in terms of making plans for next season, the clock is ticking.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Rookies Justin Sellers and Jerry Sands high-five after a 6-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium last week. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

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