Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti, left, speaks with Manager Don Mattingly… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
Reporting from San Francisco — While acknowledging that he spoke to Hiroki Kuroda about the possibility of waiving the no-trade clause in his contract, General Manager Ned Colletti still won't say the Dodgers will be sellers at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
"It's not that cut and dry," Colletti said Tuesday.
Colletti said the Dodgers could be buyers but added this qualifier: If they buy, they probably would do so with next year's roster on their minds.
"We may seek a player that we can have for more than one year, for more than the rest of this season," Colletti said.
Colletti applied the opposite strategy when the Dodgers were in contention. Of the seven players he acquired in the days leading up to the previous three non-waiver trade deadlines, five were impending free agents.
Kuroda appears to be the Dodgers' most attractive trade bait. Over the next few days, Kuroda is expected to tell the Dodgers to which teams he would accept being traded.
Kuroda, who earns $12 million this year, will be a free agent this winter. So will utilityman Jamey Carroll, who is also drawing interest from other teams.
Ethier out of the lineup
With the Dodgers facing a left-hander in Madison Bumgarner and Andre Ethier on a one-for-16 slide, Manager Don Mattingly opted to sit his All-Star right fielder.
Newcomer Juan Rivera started in Ethier's place.
Mattingly said Ethier has been slowed by a sore knee, but he expects him back in the lineup for the series finale Wednesday.
"I think he needs to stay in the strike zone a little bit more, be more patient," Mattingly said. "It's the tendency, when you're not scoring runs, to try to make something happen."
Ethier said he doesn't feel that patience is the issue.
"I'm having a lot of misses on the pitches I should be hitting," he said.
Loney finds his place
James Loney tried hitting with his toes lined up along the edge of the batter's box. He experimented with an open stance.
The first baseman has tinkered with mechanics so often that Mattingly wondered aloud last month if he has an "Uncle Harry" who tells him to alter his stance every other day.
Loney said his days of experimenting are over. "I'm going to stay there," he said.
That is, with his right and left feet each a step back from the inside line of the batter's box.
"It's a little tougher handling pitches in when you're on the plate so much," he said.
Loney, who was hitting .170 on April 25, went into Tuesday batting .263.
Marcus Thames, who was designated for assignment on July 12, was released. … Casey Blake, who reported improvement in his stiff neck, has started hitting off a tee and fielding ground balls.