The Dodgers exercised an option on Jerry Sands today and assigned him to their minor-league camp, reducing the major-league camp roster to 39.
Sands had been hitting .158, his sixth hit in 38 at-bats serving as the game-winning RBI single in yesterday’s 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
“More than anything, we’ve got to let Jerry in our minds, let him settle down and get his swing back together, let him get to work and just get ready to play,” manager Don Mattingly said.
After Monday’s game, Sands admitted he’s been a bit off while trying to make adjustments to his swing during camp. Visibly, his swing didn’t look the same as it did last season with the Dodgers, when he hit .253 (50-for-198) with four home runs and 26 RBIs.
“Small things can throw big things off,” he said. “Going up to the plate worried about things going on with my swing and not worried about picking up pitches – it’s tougher than it looks up there. I’ve just kind of been out of it so far. I’ve got to get back to seeing some pitches.”
Now he’ll get that chance. Mattingly said that Sands is still the team’s “best option” in the long run to come off the bench and spell Andre Ethier or James Loney against left-handed pitchers.
“We just need to simplify things, get him back to work, get him out of the thought of this team right now,” Mattingly said. “Get him back to where he puts himself back together, and have a shot to be able to help us when he comes back.”
With Sands out, several players are still in the running for the final position player spot on opening day. Mattingly specifically mentioned infielders Justin Sellers, Luis Cruz and Josh Fields. Sellers is on the 40-man roster; Cruz and Fields would need to be added.
“We don’t know who it’s going to be,” Mattingly said.
Additionally, the Dodgers placed Blake Hawksworth on the 60-day disabled list, and officially announced the signing of Jamey Wright and added him to the 40-man roster.