Dodgers left fielder Jerry Sands has performed well at the plate since rejoining… (Gary A. Vasquez / U.S. Presswire )
"It seems so simple when you talk about it," rookie Jerry Sands said of hitting in the major leagues. "Then you step up to the plate."
Sands got off to a sluggish start in the batter's box after re-joining the Dodgers this month, but he said adjustments he made while playing at triple-A Albuquerque this summer should pay off.
"I changed some big things in my swing," Sands said without disclosing specifics. Now, he said, "it's just a mental thing, just settling down, relaxing."
The changes appeared to start working this week. Sands had three hits in four at-bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night, including a run-scoring single. It was Sands' first multi-hit game in the big leagues since May 22.
And on Tuesday night, Sands doubled home a run in his first at-bat against Arizona starter Ian Kennedy.
Sands, who turns 24 on Sept. 28, was an early-season call-up when the Dodgers were starved for offense and his arrival was met with chants of "Jer-ry! Jer-ry!" at Dodger Stadium.
But after he hit .200 in 125 at-bats with two home runs and 17 runs batted in, he was sent to the minors June 9.
"It's too early" to draw any conclusions about Sands' major league return, Manager Don Mattingly said.
"Since he's been up in the big leagues this season, I haven't seen him really swing the bat the way I think he's capable of swinging," Mattingly said. "He's going to have to relax a little bit and let his game come out."
As for defense, Sands mostly has played left field with the Dodgers but "it's always been part of the plan that Jerry play some first [base], play some right [field], play some left," Mattingly said. "I think Jerry's pretty comfortable anywhere you put him."
Sands started in left field again Tuesday night, and made a sparkling catch in the first inning when he caught Aaron Hill's fly ball while crashing into a wall in foul ground.
Clayton Kershaw nominated for award
Pitcher Clayton Kershaw is the Dodgers' nominee for this year's Roberto Clemente Award. Named after the late Hall of Fame player with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the award goes to a player "who best represents the game" through "positive contributions on and off the field."
Kershaw's charitable work includes Arise Africa, which raises money to help build orphanages in Zambia, and he has donated $100 per strikeout to the organization this season. As of Tuesday, Kershaw (18-5) led the National League with 231 strikeouts.
Fans can help select the winner among each of the clubs' 30 nominees starting Wednesday at http://www.chevybaseball.com/clemente.
Mei-Ching Chow Ma, the first lady of Taiwan, is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 21. … Before Tuesday's game, the Dodgers were 14-4 when July acquisition Juan Rivera batted in the cleanup spot, and Rivera overall was batting .362 with runners in scoring position since joining the club.