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DODGERS FYI

Martin dropped to sixth

August 10, 2008|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO -- Russell Martin wasn't hitting when he batted in front of Manny Ramirez, and moving up a spot into the No. 2-hole didn't change anything, so Dodgers Manager Joe Torre moved his All-Star catcher into the sixth spot in the lineup Saturday. But that didn't help him either.

Martin was five for 22 (.227) with five strikeouts over five games with Ramirez hitting behind him. Friday, he was moved to the second spot in the order and was 0 for 4. Saturday, batting in front of Casey Blake, he went 0 for 4 again, with three strikeouts.

Torre said he noticed that Martin's swing has looked long. The manager also said the catcher appeared "too ambitious."

Asked if that could be the result of anticipating better pitches because Ramirez was behind him, Martin replied, "It probably has nothing to do with that.

". . . The thing about hitting is that when you're doing good, you're hitting pitches that you're supposed to hit. It seems like lately, those pitches, I've been fouling them back."

Torre said he considered batting Martin second again, but he wanted to avoid having left-handed hitters James Loney and Andre Ethier bat back to back in the fifth and sixth spots.

So Martin hit sixth and Ethier hit second.

"I'll hit anywhere in the lineup," Martin said. "It doesn't matter to me."

Martin said he didn't necessarily believe that hitting in front of a particular teammate could benefit or hurt a player.

Torre said he thought Martin's inexperience was hindering him. Opting for a more battle-tested bat at No. 3, Torre moved 40-year-old Jeff Kent into that spot Thursday. Kent is six for 11 with four runs batted in in the new role, including a homer that gave the Dodgers a short-lived 2-1 lead in the 10th inning of a 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night.

"He knows what to do with a good count," Torre said of Kent.

Berroa's second chance

Shortstop Angel Berroa said that while he hasn't thought about his impending free agency, he thinks he has proved that he belongs in the majors.

A short-term replacement for Rafael Furcal and Nomar Garciaparra, Berroa was acquired in a June trade from Kansas City, which had him playing in triple A the last two years.

"When they traded me here, I told myself this was my second chance and start over," he said. "I thought I had a chance to show what I had within me."

And what does he think he has shown?

"The whole world sees I can play defense," he said.

Once considered a poor defensive shortstop -- he made 24 errors when he was the AL rookie of the year in 2003 and 28 the next season in 133 games -- Berroa said he started to put a greater emphasis on his glove work when he was demoted to triple A.

Almost an automatic out in his first month with the Dodgers -- he was hitting .183 at the beginning of July -- Berroa has progressed offensively, and he entered Saturday's game with a .267 average from June 21 on.

Berroa's run as the Dodgers' starting shortstop could end Tuesday, when Garciaparra is eligible to be activated from the disabled list.

Short hops

Jason Schmidt is scheduled for a bullpen session today. . . . Scott Proctor, who was shut down because of elbow discomfort, is to resume throwing Monday. . . . Dodgers scout Lon Joyce was part of the inaugural class of inductees into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame. . . . Third base coach Larry Bowa will conduct an online chat with fans at 2 p.m. Tuesday at dodgers.com. . . . Right-hander Justin Miller of Class-A Great Lakes took a no-hitter into the ninth inning Friday. It was broken up with one out, and Great Lakes wound up losing to Western Michigan, 3-2.

--

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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