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DODGERS FYI

Casey Blake does well in return to Dodgers' lineup

Blake, activated from 15-day disabled list, reaches base in three of his four plate appearances in 7-5 loss to Colorado. Manager Don Mattingly says he plans to take advantage of Blake's versatility.

April 07, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake warms up before Wednesday's game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver.
Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake warms up before Wednesday's game… (Barry Gutierrez / Associated…)

Reporting from Denver — In the last couple of weeks, Casey Blake played only in informal minor league games on the back fields of spring-training complexes, taking as many at-bats as he pleased.

So when Blake, who had a sore back, was activated from the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, he had to be mindful of the rules of major league competition.

"I didn't know what to do there in the second inning," said Blake, who batted in the first. "I started to get my helmet."

Jokes and the final score aside, Blake's return to the Dodgers' lineup was a successful one.

He reached base in three of his four plate appearances in a 7-5 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

He was hit by a pitch in the first inning, tripled in a run in the third and singled in the fifth.

Blake, who batted .248 last season, also scored on a third-inning single by Andre Ethier.

He played at third base and made an error in the third inning that did not result in any runs.

Blake, who rejoined the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Sunday, said he was concerned about not seeing live pitching for a few days. To reduce the effects of that, he stood by the plate during recent bullpen sessions by Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda.

Manager Don Mattingly said he plans to take advantage of Blake's versatility.

If the Dodgers are facing a left-hander who gives left-handed-hitting James Loney problems, Blake could play at first base. He also could spell Ethier in right field.

"He gives me a guy I can move around a little bit," Mattingly said. "I don't want to do it a lot. I want him pretty much at third base, but he does give me the flexibility to load the lineup right-handed and give certain guys days off against a tough lefty."

Infield shift

Blake's return moved Juan Uribe from third base to second.

But the former Rockies infielder didn't have any problems adjusting to a different position.

Uribe had five assists over nine errorless innings and made a spectacular across-the-body throw in the sixth inning to prevent Carlos Gonzalez from reaching base on an infield hit.

Necessary relief

Kenley Jansen and Matt Guerrier each pitched two scoreless innings in relief.

This was a particularly big deal for Jansen, who was shelled the last time he took the mound. Against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday, Jansen gave up four runs in one inning.

"It was nice to get out there," Jansen said. "I just tried to be aggressive and get ahead of hitters."

Short hops

Mattingly strongly hinted that John Ely would be called up to start Sunday by acknowledging that the Dodgers' roster situation would affect the decision. The other candidate to make that start, John Redding, isn't on the 40-man roster. … Ethier has reached base safely in 10 of his last 16 plate appearances.… The Dodgers got a hit out of every spot in the lineup except the ninth.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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