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DODGER REPORT

Roberts Sits Again With a Left-Hander on Mound

June 22, 2004|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — Although Manager Jim Tracy reiterated Monday that Dave Roberts still might start in left field against some left-handers, Roberts apparently believed otherwise because of Tracy's decision to start Jayson Werth in the opener against the San Francisco Giants at SBC Park.

"When a left-hander's throwing, I'm not going to play," said Roberts, seventh among National League leadoff batters with a .379 on-base percentage and second in the league with 22 stolen bases.

"You just check the rotation. When there's a lefty in there, I now know I'm not going to be in the lineup."

After playing a key role in helping the Dodgers win two of three from the New York Yankees at Dodger Stadium, Roberts returned to the bench with crafty left-hander Kirk Rueter on the mound to begin a four-game series in a battle for the top spot in the National League West.

Roberts figured he would be in the lineup with the first-place Dodgers leading the Giants by 1 1/2 games beginning play, but Tracy delivered a changeup.

"Why? I don't know," Roberts said. "I think it's just a manager's decision.... I haven't asked him for a justification because I don't think that's really my place.

"Obviously, this situation is out of my control. I don't think it's a numbers thing, it's a manager's decision and he has the right of veto."

Tracy last week said Werth and not Roberts, a career .266 hitter against left-handers, would start in left field against most left-handers. Tracy made the move on the strength of Werth's first 19 at-bats, including two home runs, against left-handers.

The Dodgers are trying to determine whether Werth could be an everyday player, and Werth has to play to be evaluated.

"I'm not sitting here suggesting that David Roberts will not play against left-handed pitching," Tracy said. "But I weigh my decisions from day-to-day as to who it is that we're facing."

In choosing Werth over Roberts on Monday, Tracy said Rueter's quick move to first base would curtail the running game. Roberts has a .308 batting average against Rueter, and Werth had never faced Rueter. Werth was two for four with a double against Rueter on Monday.

"If my name is in the lineup, I'll play," Roberts said. "If not, I'll be ready."

*

Some baseball executives say the Dodgers and Seattle Mariners could complete a deal that would send Freddy Garcia to Los Angeles.

Seattle General Manager Bill Bavasi knows the Dodger farm system well, having formerly served as the farm director, which would help him in selecting prospects to include in a potential trade.

*

Tim Wallach, in his first season as hitting instructor, is believed to be among those being considered for the UCLA coaching job.

Wallach declined to comment, instructing agent Alan Meersand to speak on his behalf.

"Tim is flattered that UCLA may be interested in him," Meersand said, "but he is very satisfied working with the Dodger hitters and enjoys what he is doing."

*

Reliever Paul Shuey had one strikeout in one scoreless inning on a minor league rehab assignment.

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