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Jerry Sands' roster spot looks far from secure in loss to Rockies

The young outfielder continues to struggle, going hitless in two at-bats as the Dodgers fall to Colorado, 5-2, in exhibition play.

March 13, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Dodgers outfielder Jerry Sands tosses his bat during a spring training workout session in Phoenix last month.
Dodgers outfielder Jerry Sands tosses his bat during a spring training… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)

It is still pretty early, of course, the Dodgers yet to arrive to the midpoint of their spring training season.

Still, you have to wonder if that pencil that wrote Jerry Sands onto the Dodgers’ opening-day roster best have had the lightest of leads.

Sands went hitless in two at-bats in the Dodgers’ 5-2 loss to the Rockies at Camelback Ranch on Tuesday, and is now 2-for-14 (.143) this spring.

Not exactly alarming in mid-March, but with Manager Don Mattingly saying Sunday he would not start the season platooning Andre Ethier and James Loney, you have to wonder if Sands is going to get at-bats that the young hitter still needs.

I argued back in December Sands would be best served starting the season at triple-A and playing regularly, rather than spot starting with the Dodgers. It’s not like he screams “ready to make an impact.” The power he’s demonstrated in the minors has yet to translate to the majors (.345 slugging percentage last season in 198 at-bats).

Plus, he simply may not fit in the roster as well as others. The Dodgers have no true backup shortstop if they send Justin Sellers down. Josh Fields may be more intriguing to back up Juan Uribe at third. And they may even be better off with a Cory Sullivan or Trent Oeltjen as a backup outfielder while Sands plays daily at Albuquerque.

They already have Tony Gwynn Jr.and Jerry Hairston  Jr. as backup outfielders. He doesn’t fill a glaring need.

"We all like Jerry,'' Mattingly said the other day. "But he is still at a point where he can get better. We know what we're getting with him. We're getting a competitor and a good athlete who can play the corners and play first base.''

In a radio interview with Charley Steiner on Sunday, General Manager Ned Colletti called Sands’ roster situation “fluid.”

“We’ll see what the situation is day-by-day and do what’s best for everybody,” Colletti said.

Meanwhile, Sands is being pushed as the team’s most promising outfield prospect, ahead of Scott Van Slyke and even Alex Castellanos.

No one shined much for the Dodgers on Tuesday. Left-hander Chris Capuano labored in his second spring start, throwing 57 pitches in his 2 2/3 innings. He surrendered three runs (two earned) on two hits and a pair of walks.

Offensively, the Dodgers managed six hits against five Rockies pitchers. Van Slyke tripled off the wall and scored on a groundout in the sixth. And catcher Tim Federowicz doubled and scored on a Luis Cruz single in the eighth.

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