Left fielder Brian Jordan can't wait to get to his home in Atlanta on Monday because he'll get to see his wife and three kids, including his 9-week-old son, for the first time in a month. "He doesn't even know what his daddy looks like," Jordan said of his newborn.
He wouldn't have recognized him Friday night. Jordan, who prides himself on hustle and hard-nosed play, on running out every ground ball, failed to run out an infield popup with a runner on first in the fifth inning. Cub third baseman Mark Bellhorn dropped the ball but had enough time to throw to first, starting a double play.
That was the low point of the Dodgers' 8-3 loss to Chicago and a third consecutive 0 for 4 game for Jordan, and come to think of it, Jordan was glad his son wasn't on hand to witness it.
"He didn't get to see Daddy's worst game of his major league career, thank goodness," Jordan said. "I swear, I thought that was an infield fly. Maury [Wills, roving base-running instructor] is going to kick my butt because we've been through that 100 times in spring training. But that's me. When it rains it pours."
Jordan, for some reason, thought there were runners on first and second and that the infield fly rule was in effect.
"The ball went up, I took five steps and thought, 'Shoot, I'm automatically out,'" Jordan said. "When he dropped it, I thought, 'Man, wasn't that an infield fly?' I must have messed up here. It was just salt thrown on the wounds."
Jordan was so upset about the gaffe he barely slept Friday night. When he arrived at Dodger Stadium on Saturday he apologized to Manager Jim Tracy, his teammates, "and I'll probably apologize to Vin Scully because he had to watch that," Jordan said. "That's the worst play I've ever made, because I run everything out."
Jordan, in an 0-for-18 slump, has played the last three weeks despite patella tendinitis in his left knee, a condition that has caused him to sit out two games and will require surgery after the season.
The injury is similar to the one former Dodger reliever Matt Herges experienced last season and the one Cincinnati Red center fielder Ken Griffey has this season. Herges played through the discomfort and underwent surgery last winter, while Griffey aggravated his knee early this season and is now on the disabled list.
Jordan plans to play through the pain but may need a few more days off than he's used to.
"It shouldn't limit me too much," said Jordan, a former NFL defensive back who has never undergone knee surgery. "But as far as sliding and taking out catchers, I may limit myself."
The Dodgers have done a horrible job bunting lately--in the last 10 games, Dodger pitchers failed to advance runners with sacrifice bunts nine times, and Mark Grudzielanek struck out trying to advance two runners with a bunt in a crucial sixth-inning situation Friday night.
But Tracy has no plans to scrap his little ball approach and adopt Earl Weaver's philosophy. Tracy will not sit back and wait for a three-run home run because the Dodgers simply aren't built for that kind of attack.
"I won't let [failures in the bunting game] affect decisions in the future, because that's something that is necessary for our club to be successful," Tracy said. "I've played for the big inning before. If we hit that ground ball that leads to a 6-4-3 double play [instead of bunting with runners on first and second] I'll be interested to hear what kind of questions I'll get the next day."
(1-2, 4.67 ERA)
(1-2, 3.77 ERA)
Dodger Stadium, 5 p.m.
Radio--KXTA (1150), KWKW (1330).
Update--Brown, who was sidelined after tearing scar tissue in his surgically repaired elbow on April 13, gave up two runs on five hits in five innings of a 3-1 loss to the Reds in his return from the disabled list Tuesday night, but he had trouble finding his rhythm. Reserve infielder Alex Cora probably will start at shortstop or second--he has a career .462 average (six for 13) against Clement, the Cub right-hander who was acquired from Florida in a spring-training trade.