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Dodgers' James Loney sits again against left-handed pitcher

Left-handed-hitting first baseman doesn't start against Philadelphia's Cole Hamels but Don Mattingly won't call it a platoon situation.

June 08, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers first baseman James Loney was not in the starting lineup for Wednesday's 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Dodgers first baseman James Loney was not in the starting lineup for Wednesday's… (Jayne Kamin-Oncea / U.S.…)

Reporting from Philadelphia — The Dodgers faced a left-hander in Cliff Lee on Monday and first baseman James Loney sat. The Dodgers faced left-hander Cole Hamels on Wednesday and Loney sat again.

Manager Don Mattingly won't say the left-handed-hitting Loney is part of a platoon. Then again, Mattingly didn't concede that the Dodgers were closing by committee until last week and is insisting that infielder Jamey Carroll hasn't been relegated to bench duty.

"I wouldn't say he's straight platoon," Mattingly said. "I'm just trying to find more offense."

Mattingly moved Casey Blake from third base to first base. He put Juan Uribe at third and Carroll at second.

Of Loney, Mattingly said, "He hasn't really thumped on the lefties. I'm trying to find that extra run here or there, try to make it tougher on the guy."

Loney is batting .173 against left-handers. He hit .222 against them last year.

He pinch-hit for rookie shortstop Dee Gordon in the eighth inning and flied out to left field against Hamels.

"There's never anything wrong with competition," Mattingly said. "This game, you have to continue to prove yourself. There's always somebody coming. They want that job. You have to go up and put up numbers. You have to perform. There are no free rides."

From Mattingly's perspective, part of Loney's problem is that he's constantly tinkering with his stance.

"James does a lot of changes," Mattingly said. "He's always done it. He'll be on a little bit of a roll, come in the next day and it's, 'What happened overnight?' Uncle Harry or somebody told him something and he has a different stance. I'm not saying that's what's happened, but that's what it seems like."

Lopes back in Philly

Back at Citizens Bank Park to face the team he coached for the last four seasons, first base coach Davey Lopes said there were certain parts of Philadelphia that he missed.

Such as the fans.

"I have great memories of this ballpark and the fans," Lopes said. "I can say they're the best in baseball. It's passionate. The intensity level coming to this ballpark every day. I miss that."

It's certainly different from the environment at Dodger Stadium these days.

"The empty seats, that's not something that you're used to seeing in L.A.," Lopes said. "But it is what it is."

Lopes said that the Dodgers club that he is coaching isn't the same Dodgers club for which he played.

"It's not like what I remember," Lopes said. "It's different. It is what it is — for now. We'll see what happens in the near future."

Lopes said returning to Philadelphia was an emotional experience.

"They're a great bunch of guys," he said of the Phillies. "These guys made my life a lot easier the last four years. I can't say enough about them."

Draft roundup

On the final day of MLB's amateur draft, the Dodgers used their 31st-round pick to select the West Coast Conference player of the year — in basketball.

The player, St. Mary's guard Mickey McConnell, hasn't played baseball since he was a shortstop at Dobson High in Mesa, Ariz.

A news release issued by the school's athletic department said McConnell plans to pursue a basketball career.

The Dodgers used their 40th-round pick to take East Los Angeles College infielder Stefan Jarrin, the grandson of the team's Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin. In the next round, they drafted Casey Thomas, an infielder out of Desert Vista High in Phoenix. Thomas is the son Dodgers scout Tom Thomas.

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