Dodgers give Jones most of day off
Slumping outfielder out of lineup against D-backs
PHOENIX -- Struggling center fielder Andruw Jones and his .103 batting average were benched Wednesday by Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who returned Juan Pierre to the starting lineup in left field and moved Matt Kemp to center for the game with the Diamondbacks.
"He just looks now like he's overanxious, that's the simplest explanation," Torre said of Jones, who has one RBI and nine strikeouts in 29 at-bats. "It looks like he's doing more guessing than anticipating. We know it's not physical. He seems to be getting in his own way."
Torre said he told Jones he would not start after Tuesday night's game, when he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Jones ended up pinch-hitting and reached on an infield single. He stayed in the game defensively and struck out to end the game. Torre did not say whether Jones would be back in the lineup Friday night, when the Dodgers face San Diego ace Jake Peavy.
Jones was 0-for-3 with a strikeout against Peavy last week in San Diego. Jones was 1-for-3 with a homer previously against Arizona's Wednesday starter, Micah Owings, while Pierre was 0-for-5.
"He knows, by the time all is said and done, he'll be a lot closer to who he's supposed to be than who he is now," Torre said of Jones, who signed a two-year, $36.2 million contract. "We talked today and he was disappointed. He understood my view on it."
Torre dismissed Jones' weight as a factor in his struggles at the plate, which seem more a matter of him pulling off pitches with a power mentality instead of staying on pitches and going up the middle. The manager, however, didn't dismiss the possibility of Jones pressing to justify his signing.
With Jones missing his first start of the year, Torre chose Kemp, his regular right fielder, in center over Pierre, a life-long center fielder until Jones' signing displaced him to left.
"Arm-wise, I'd rather have [Kemp's] arm in center field," Torre said. "Plus, we've gone out of our way to keep Juan in left field and get his comfort level there where we want it."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.