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T.J. SIMERS

Lousy act by Dodgers kids is getting pretty old

June 29, 2008|T.J. SIMERS

Although the Dodgers' youngsters made the case Saturday night that they can win without getting a hit, there's going to be lots of talk come the trading deadline about what the Dodgers might do -- like they'd have any thought of giving up on their young players.

It's not going to happen; the kids still rule here.

General Manager Ned Colletti is under fire, though, and Manager Joe Torre said again, "it's still a work in progress" getting through to the team's young players.

The Dodgers remain within reach of Arizona after an extraordinary win over the Angels, but both men don't like the (hitless) approach at home plate by the kids, and Torre has talked about his coaching staff doing a better job of communicating.

A year ago this month the Dodgers dismissed Hall of Famer Eddie Murray, their hitting coach, after a three-game sweep of the New York Mets because he wasn't connecting with the team's younger players.

So it might be logical to assume it is only a matter of time before the Dodgers put Don Mattingly in uniform, tossing yet another pacifier to the kids in an effort to tap their potential.

Mattingly is supposed to be an extension of Torre, albeit a younger version, who might score better with the Dodgers' youngsters as hitting coach -- especially after none of them could get a hit against the Angels.

The Dodgers have grizzled, hard-bitten old coots in Larry Bowa and Bob Schaefer on their coaching staff, but it appears the kids still need some babying.

The Dodgers aren't saying whether any changes are in the offing, but Torre said, "as a group, I still have some work to do with [the young players]. You'd like to just show up and have everybody absorb everything or commit to it," but it hasn't happened.

The Dodgers hired Torre for PR purposes, of course, because almost everything they've done on the Parking Lot Attendant's watch has been for PR purposes.

But the Dodgers also thought they were getting someone to command respect in the clubhouse, something they believe they had lost with Grady Little on the job.

As results go, the Dodgers are worse off so far, and it's shocking, while refreshingly honest to hear Torre talk about his ineffectiveness to win over the Dodgers' youngsters so far.

He's not disappointed, he said, speaking like someone who knows he won't be fired any time soon, but that nervous guy over his shoulder is Colletti, who is beginning to blame others for moves gone wrong.

That's the first sign of a desperate GM, who will probably feel obligated to make a move of some sort, his hands tied, though, when it comes to dealing the kids, which explains why he brought in Bill Mueller as hitting coach last June.

Yeah, that made a difference -- come to think of it, just like most of his moves.

Now as far as the Dodgers youngsters are concerned, there's really no difference between Little and Torre.

The Dodgers kids remain in their own world, happy to be in the big leagues and secure in the knowledge that time is on their collective side no matter who is the manager.

Several of them are doing just fine, too, if you ask them -- failing to take into account only one detail, the team's overall horrible record. What's the rush with so many years in front of them?

And so they progress at their own pace, the older players here not much help to date. There might not be a team in baseball right now with a group of veterans counted on less by management, and living up to just that.

As a result, this is the kids' show. And while the Dodgers are betting everything on them to succeed, the team is making minor league mistake after minor league mistake at the major league level, which might clear a spot on the bench for Mattingly.

He might not keep Andy LaRoche from trying to bunt for a base hit with the bases loaded and two outs, as LaRoche tried to do Friday night, but it's so much easier to bring in new coaches than start over with more young players.

WAS IT good for you? For many, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the thrill of watching a no-hitter in person, the oddity of Saturday night's game making it something else.

Angels' Manager Mike Scioscia elected to end Jered Weaver's no-hit bid, the Angels down, 1-0, because of two errors by two young players, and pinch-hitting for him in the seventh inning.

Jose Arredondo didn't give up a hit in two innings, but since the Dodgers didn't come to bat in the ninth, it's not considered a no-hitter.

So if you were here, you didn't witness a no-hitter.

SPEAKING OF power, here's a blast from the past. Dallas McPherson, who was supposed to replace Troy Glaus as the Angels' power hitter, had a streak of seven consecutive games with a home run ended Saturday night. He still leads all minor leaguers, playing for the Florida Marlins' affiliate in Albuquerque, with 28 home runs.

THE ANGELS' pathetic offensive display against the Dodgers the last two games sure makes the Boston Red Sox look good once again in looking forward to the playoffs.

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