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Dodgers' James Loney gets hot at the plate, but Don Mattingly is lukewarm about it

First baseman is 11 for 17 in his last four games, but the manager is taking a cautious view because Loney's hitting has been up and down this season.

August 24, 2011|By Jim Peltz
  • Dodgers first baseman James Loney singles to left field against the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
Dodgers first baseman James Loney singles to left field against the Colorado… (Justin Edmonds / Getty Images )

Reporting from St. Louis — In a season in which James Loney's batting repeatedly has come under question, the Dodgers' first baseman has caught fire lately.

Loney was three for five with two doubles in the Dodgers' 9-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, and is 11 for 17 in his last four games, lifting his batting average to .271.

Loney said his timing at the plate had improved recently and "I just feel like I'm ready every pitch."

Manager Don Mattingly took a somewhat cautious view of Loney's resurgence.

"James is swinging the bat good, so we'll see where that goes," Mattingly said. "He's been in and out [this season] so we'll see if James can continue to do that.

"If he swings the bat like that, we're a different club."

A.J. Ellis arrives with a bang

Catcher A.J. Ellis, just called up from triple-A Albuquerque, had two hits, including his first major league home run.

Ellis, 30, drove a 3-and-1 pitch from starter Jaime Garcia an estimated 427 feet into the left-field stands in the fifth inning.

"It's always good to be a part of things," Ellis said. "When the merry-go-round is going and people are getting hits and scoring runs, you always want to be a part of it."

Juan Rivera also has been hitting well since joining the Dodgers on July 15. Since then, the former Angel has hit three home runs and nine doubles, including one of each Wednesday, and has driven in 22 runs.

"To me, he's always been an accomplished hitter," Mattingly said.

Kenley Jansen is set to return

After the game, reliever Kenley Jansen was reinstated from the disabled list and, to make room for him on the roster, reliever Josh Lindblom was sent to double-A Chattanooga.

The 6-foot-5 Jansen, 23, was put on the disabled list in late July after he was hospitalized because of an irregular heartbeat. He was 1-1 with a 3.65 earned-run average in 34 games.

Mattingly said the Dodgers also hope to reinstate rookie shortstop Dee Gordon, who is on the DL because of a bruised right shoulder, after he has played two rehabilitation games. That could occur by the end of the week, Mattingly said.

Short hops

The six runs scored by the Dodgers in the third inning Wednesday tied their season high for most runs in an inning. … Hiroki Kuroda threw a wild pitch in the second inning to give him 12, tying him with Henry Rodriguez of the Washington Nationals for the National League lead. … The Dodgers are off Thursday and open a six-game homestand Friday against the Colorado Rockies.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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