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Jerry Sands keeps pushing for a spot on Dodgers next season

Outfielder-first baseman, 23, is batting .390 since being recalled from the minor leagues Sept. 6 and making a case for himself to be a regular in 2012.

September 18, 2011|By Jim Peltz
  • Jerry Sands of the Dodgers hits a three run home run in the second inning of Saturday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium.
Jerry Sands of the Dodgers hits a three run home run in the second inning of… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images) )

Rookie Jerry Sands continued to make his case for being a Dodgers regular next year.

Sands had four hits, including a three-run home run, and four runs batted in in the Dodgers' 15-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Sands has a seven-game hitting streak and is batting .390 (16 for 41) since being recalled from the minor leagues Sept. 6.

"It's an old saying that hitting is contagious and today it was," the outfielder-first baseman said. "It was fun."

Sands played with the Dodgers early this season but struggled and was sent to the minors in June, where he made major changes to his swing.

As for next season, "all I can do is play for now [and] next year we'll see what happens," he said.

Manager Don Mattingly said of Sands: "Getting to play every day, it's so much better for a guy." But beyond that, Mattingly said the Dodgers "don't want to judge him too quickly."

John Ely is at the ready

Dodgers starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda has been battling a sore neck and, if he can't start Thursday, John Ely likely would take his place, Mattingly said.

"It sounds like [Kuroda] is going to be good" for the start against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium but, if not, "pretty much John would be the guy to get the ball," Mattingly said.

Ely, 25, was a brief sensation early last season — he faced 89 consecutive batters without giving up a walk — but then struggled and mostly has played in the minor leagues since then.

The right-handed Ely on Sunday made his third appearance with the Dodgers this season, tossing two innings of scoreless relief.

Tom Lasorda to return to the bench

Former Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda is scheduled to be an honorary coach with the club when it plays the Giants on Thursday, the Dodgers' final home game this season, according to sources familiar with the plan but not authorized to comment. The Dodgers declined comment.

Lasorda, a Hall of Fame member who is a special advisor to the chairman of the Dodgers, won two World Series titles and had a 1,599-1,439 record in his 21-year career as manager.

Matt Kemp extends streak

Before Matt Kemp took the field Sunday for his 355th consecutive game, the longest current streak in the big leagues, Mattingly was asked whether he thought about resting the center fielder for a day.

"I talked to him yesterday about it [and] he just laughed at me," Mattingly said with a grin.

"It's an accomplishment," Mattingly said. "It's not something I want to take away from him even though it would probably be good for him [to rest]. But I promise you, 10 days into the off-season he's going to be one sore guy."

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