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Dodgers' Jamey Carroll takes high road on probable loss of starting job

Despite being one of the few hitting bright spots on the team, the versatile infielder probably will return to a backup role when shortstop Rafael Furcal and third baseman Casey Blake return from injuries, but he is not crying about it.

May 17, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Jamey Carroll knows his time as the Dodgers starting shortstop is about to come to an end.
Jamey Carroll knows his time as the Dodgers starting shortstop is about… (Jayne Kamin-Oncea / U.S.…)

He was widely considered the Dodgers' most valuable player last season. He is third on the team in hitting and on-base percentage this year. He ranks in the top 15 in the National League in both categories.

But Jamey Carroll could be headed back to the bench when Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake are activated in the coming weeks.

"It kind of comes along with the job," said Carroll, who has played shortstop and batted leadoff in Furcal's absence.

Carroll, 37, said he knows he has been labeled a utilityman. At this stage in his career, he said he understands there's no point in hoping he can get others to perceive him as an everyday player.

"You have to accept who you are," Carroll said.

Carroll said he learned that while playing for the Colorado Rockies. He had the best offensive season of his career in 2006, when he started 110 games and batted .300. A slow start the next season cost him his place as the starting second baseman. He finished that year with a .225 average.

"That one time I was frustrated," Carroll said. "I learned a lot from it. I basically realized it was a waste of time to be frustrated about it."

Carroll batted .291 last season and led the Dodgers with a .379 on-base percentage, but the team signed Juan Uribe over the winter to be its starting second baseman. Manager Don Mattingly said that he thought Carroll would be more effective as a part-time player and that the Dodgers wanted to add a long-ball threat to their power-deprived lineup.

"Everybody in here wants to play," Carroll said. "That's ultimately not up to us. It's not up to me. All I can do is control how I play and accept the situation. I'm all about winning. Whatever their idea of what I should be to help us win is the situation that is. There's no room to complain about it. There's no room to hope about anything. It's just a waste of time. It really does nobody any good."

New platoon

When a team's offense is as low-scoring as the Dodgers', one hit can earn you an increased share of playing time.

Jay Gibbons, who was one for three Monday night, will be part of a left-right platoon in left field with Jerry Sands. Gibbons will start the majority of games against right-handers and Sands will be in the lineup against left-handers.

"We got five hits, he got one of them," Mattingly said of Gibbons.

With left-hander Randy Wolf starting for the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday, Sands drew the starting assignment. The rookie went into the game with a .194 average.

Sands, who was in Class A at this time last year, said he knew the transition to the major leagues would be difficult. He was called up from triple-A Albuquerque on April 18.

"I knew what I was going to run into," he said. "These guys have good control."

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