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Category: Jay Gibbons

Dodgers aren't promising that Jerry Sands won't be sent down when Marcus Thames is activated


Has Jerry Sands done enough to stick?

It’s a tough one for the Dodgers, but it's a looming decision with outfielder Marcus Thames expected to come off the disabled list next week.

Someone is going to have to go, and if it’s easy to see Juan Castro being returned to the minors when Juan Uribe comes off the disabled list in the next few days, there is no obvious outfielder to make room for Thames.

The highly-touted Sands has neither blown people away nor proven a major disappointment (.220 average, .317 slugging, .367 on-base) since being called up April 18.

He has shown enough to keep faith in the Dodgers’ reigning minor league player of the year, but that is far from making him a lock to remain when Thames is activated.

"We’ll see," said Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti. "I reserve judgment until I have to make that decision."

There is, of course, a difference between being the future and the immediate future.

If there is no obvious candidate to go down, then Sands has that one great thing going against him that all young players on the bubble have -- he has options left.

Sands is a right-handed bat, as is Thames and center-fielder Matt Kemp. Andre Ethier, Jay Gibbons and Tony Gwynn Jr. all bat left-handed.

Manager Don Mattingly plans to play Thames when he returns, which may not bode well for Sands. The rookie also needs regular playing time. Remember, he started last season in lower Class A.

"I’d like to get Marcus back in there, back in the mix," Mattingly said. "Give him a shot at where we started the season against left-handers. He gives us some pop out of the outfield.

"At that point with Jerry, he could possibly play some first base against a lefty, or if it’s a lefty Dre [Ethier] struggles against, Jerry could play right field. Again the combination of guys as they come back really gives you a lot more options left and right, days off for different guys at different times."

Swell, assuming Sands is around to be in the mix. No one is promising anything, which may be telling.

"I can’t say there’s no possibility of anything at this point," Mattingly said. "Decisions will have to be made as guys get healthy."

If they keep Sands, can they get him enough playing time if Thames is mostly starting against left-handers?

If he does remain, then the Dodgers have to do something with Gwynn or Gibbons, or elect to go with six relievers. In limited playing Gwynn is not hitting (.193), which is to be expected, but is their best defensive outfielder, also expected. Gibbons, after battling vision troubles, is hitting all right (.245) but thus far without the hoped-for power (one home run, two doubles in 53 at-bats).

Having options could yet prove the decisive factor. Of course, even if sent back to triple-A, he would likely return the next time an outfielder was injured.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers left fielder Jerry Sands makes a diving attempt to catch a deep fly ball hit by San Diego's Jason Bartlett during a game in April at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

It's true: Dodgers explode for 17 hits as Clayton Kershaw shuts out Marlins, 8-0


Those Dodgers, they can always top their last performance.

The day after that bizarre doggy-fire game, the Dodgers exploded for eight runs and a season-high 17 hits in absolutely routing the Florida Marlins.

Not sure which was more unexpected, but after a month where the Dodgers averaged only 2.7 runs per game and scored one or fewer runs 10 times in 25 games, they weren’t about to argue with any unusual happening that fell their way.

And plenty did before the Dodgers left with an 8-0 victory on a gusty Sunday afternoon before an announced crowd of 30,621.

Left-hander Clayton Kershaw was every bit as brilliant on the mound as the Dodgers were at the plate, shutting out the Marlins on just two hits, a soft single by Omar Infante and a Logan Morrison drive in the seventh that Jay Gibbons misplayed into a double.

Kershaw (6-3) struck out 10 in throwing just the second shutout, and complete game, of his career. He walked one.

Oh, and also had two hits and ran the bases sharply to help ignite one of the two times the Dodgers batted around against Ricky Nolasco.

The Marlins let Nolasco stay in there for five innings, by which time the Dodgers had scored all eight runs and had 15 hits, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers record set by four others for most hits against a single pitcher.

Offensive highlights abounded:

-- Struggling Rafael Furcal, who was just two for 26 since coming off the disabled list, had three hits and three runs batted in, including a two-run homer in the fourth to start the scoring.

-- Andre Ethier also had three hits, and walked twice.

-- Casey Blake, one for eight since he came off the disabled list, had two hits and two RBIs.

-- Dioner Navarro had two hits, including a double.

-- Gibbons had three hits and an RBI.

It all went so well, the Dodgers couldn’t even be concerned with Matt Kemp being thrown out for objecting to strike calls, or Manager Don Mattingly, who argued on Kemp's behalf and was also quickly ejected.


Dodgers-Marlins box score

Reliever Kenley Jansen goes on disable list

National League West refuses to let Dodgers go

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw earned his second career shutout on Sunday afternoon in an 8-0 win over the Florida Marlins. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

Dodgers Web musings: Quest for the elusive clutch hit

Llf9g6nc They happened. It says so right there in Major League Baseball’s stat package.

This season the Dodgers have 39 hits with two outs and a runner in scoring position. ESPN/LA’s Tony Jackson looked at that number, and then looked again.

"I can honestly tell you that off the top of my head, I can't remember a single one of them,’’ Jackson wrote.

That would require a clutch hit, which the Dodgers have been woefully in short supply of all season long. They’ve been woefully short of a lot of offensive elements this season, but lack of the timely big hit has been a killer.

"That has kind of been our struggle, not being able to get that hit when we needed it,’’ Manager Don Mattingly told Jackson. "We got our chances. The opportunities are showing up, but we just haven't been able to get that hit when we needed it to give us a little bit of a cushion and put some pressure on the other club.’’

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Mattingly holds Andre Ethier out of the lineup again, in part because of hitting slump

Llioahnc Andre Ethier was out of the Dodgers’ lineup for a third consecutive game, and there was more to the back story than a collision with a chain-link fence.

Manager Don Mattingly said he held Ethier out against the Houston Astros on Wednesday in part because his right fielder was slumping at the plate.

Since his 30-game hitting streak ended May 7, Ethier is hitting .179 with only one extra-base hit in 56 at-bats.

“It’s pretty easy to argue that Andre hasn’t been swinging it that good over the last 10 days,” Mattingly said of Ethier, who was still hitting .311 overall.

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Jerry Sands and the kids lead Dodgers to 5-4 victory over Astros

Sands6 These days, there is no lead the Dodgers are going to feel comfortable with. No hero they can rely on, even if it’s rookie Jerry Sands providing the first grand slam of his career. No relaxing until the final out.

When you’ve lost as many tough, late games as the Dodgers have, confidence becomes fragile. Every opposing threat is nervous time.

So even after Sands’ slam left them with a 5-0 lead in the third inning, they had to sweat out the rest of the game Tuesday before hanging on for a 5-4 victory to end a three-game losing streak.

Helping to come to their late-inning rescue was Rubby De La Rosa, who was making his major-league debut. De La Rosa, who just flew in earlier in the day from double-A Chattanooga, made it a little easy.

De La Rosa came on to pitch a perfect eighth, retiring the Astros in order on nine pitches. He struck out two and hit as high as 98 mph on the radar gun.

Since this youth movement was going so well, the Dodgers went to rookie Javy Guerrato close it in the ninth. In his fifth major-league game, Guerra shut the Astros out in the ninth for his first save.

Guerra became the sixth Dodger to record a save this season.

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It's Matt Kemp and the Dukes: Ethier, Barajas held out of lineup, but remain off crowded DL

Lloggjnc Andre Ethier, who told reporters in Houston he wasn’t that sore when he awoke Monday, is nonetheless not in the Dodgers’ lineup against the Astros.

"Dodgers lineup" being something of a loose phrase these days.

Presenting your Los Angeles Dodgers’ May 23rd starting lineup:

Shortstop Rafael Furcal, second baseman Aaron Miles, first baseman James Loney, center fielder Matt Kemp, right fielder Jay Gibbons, left fielder Jerry Sands, catcher Dioner Navarro, third baseman Russ Mitchell and pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

We'll give you a moment in case you need fanning.

Let’s put the lineup another way, with their batting averages: Furcal (.161), Miles (.286), Loney (.240), Kemp (.316), Gibbons (.194), Sands (.241), Navarro (.115), Mitchell (.091) and Kershaw (.211).

Don’t think it’s a good thing when Kershaw has a higher average than four starters.

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A bright spot shines through the Dodgers' despair

Sands_275 We interrupt this daily barrage of the Dodgers’ injury report, ownership meltdown and general you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me team performance, with something truly different -- good news!

That’s right, boys and girls, there was something positive to take away from the Dodgers’ dismal 8-3 loss to the White Sox on Sunday, other than dodging tornadoes and safely getting out of Chicago.

Jerry Sands.

Yep, the would-be rookie wunderkind had his best weekend. Patience with a player who started last season in Class A might be paying off.

Ever since I started to wonder if all those balls he was hitting to right might be reason to think he’s just not quite ready for prime time, he came through a Chicago weekend where suddenly he was pulling everything.

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The gloom only grows for Dodgers, as Ethier and Barajas hurt in 8-3 loss to White Sox

Photo: Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier crashes into the fence as he misses a drive by the White Sox's Juan Pierre in the fourth inning Sunday in Chicago. Credit: Tannen Maury / EPA A tornado approaching, bodies falling, losses mounting, the gloom had to feel tangible to the Dodgers on Sunday.

On the day they got shortstop Rafael Furcal off the disabled list, they put infielder Juan Uribe on it with a hip flexor muscle strain.

Then they started the game, fell behind for what them is an insurmountable four runs after two innings, and -- incredibly -- started losing more bodies during their 8-3 loss to the White Sox.

Andre Ethier came out of the game with back, elbow and toe injuries after missing a Juan Pierre drive and crashing into the right-field fence in the fourth inning.

The Revenge of Juan Pierre was hardly done, however. Tagging from third on a Paul Konerko fly to center, the former Dodger slid in just ahead of Matt Kemp’s throw from center.

But catcher Rod Barajas, who was set up on the first base side of the plate, had his right wrist jammed on the tag and he had to leave the game.

Which left the Dodgers with exactly one healthy bench player, Juan Castro.

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Mitchell, Castro spur Dodgers' most unlikely comeback victory, 6-4, over White Sox

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Matt Kemp (27) is congratulated by infielder Jamey Carroll (14) after hitting a two-run home run during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field. Credit: Jerry Lai / US Presswire Maybe it was the eerie fog that enveloped U.S. Cellular Field, but something very strange happened for the Dodgers on Friday night.

They opened interleague play looking exactly like the sad team that continued to invent painful ways to lose. Had gone up in the first on a two-run homer by Matt Kemp and then crawled into a shell and seemed all set to meekly absorb a one-run defeat.

They were one out away from their latest loss when they sent unsung Russ Mitchell up against reliever Sergio Santos -- who had not allowed a run all season -- and he stunned the White Sox, if not the Dodgers, with a solo home run.

Mitchell was one for 14 until his home run.

And the bizarreness only continued in the 10th, when much-maligned Juan Castro fisted a soft little hit over first baseman Paul Konerko that landed just fair to drive in the go-ahead run and the Dodgers went on for a 6-4 victory.

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Now the Dodgers face a new opponent -- overwhelming frustration

Llhaw1nc Frustration.

An enemy unto itself. It can hover over a team, an unwanted shroud that almost leads to subconscious expectation of failure.

The Dodgers are flailing now, stuck in one of those ruts all teams go through, which never makes it any easier while it's happening.

The Dodgers are getting strong starting pitching, but just can’t do anything right offensively. They don’t have a lot to work with right now, but even when things hint at going well, they never seem to go quite well enough.

"I think we feel a sense of frustration right now,’’ said manager Don Mattingly. "Guys are continuing to fight, but it’s frustrating at this point. We need to get over that hump.’’

Continue reading »

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