Torre not planning to alter lineup
Despite struggles, Dodgers skipper slightly tweaks order
PHILADELPHIA -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre understands his offense is slumping, but he does not believe shaking up the lineup is the answer.Torre trotted out the same basic lineup on Sunday that he has the past five games, when Los Angeles has averaged 2.4 runs per contest and hasn't scored more than three. The only change was moving James Loney up to the fifth spot in the order. Torre said his club's main problem comes down to impatience, something hitting coach Don Mattingly advises the players about on a consistent basis. "I don't think I'm concerned at this point and time," Torre said. "I just don't think we're in any kind of a bad streak. I think we lost a couple games. I don't think it's anything more than that. I think we need somebody to pick us up with a well-pitched ballgame at this point. We just seem to function better in closer games, because it seems that we sort of stay patient at the plate." Torre kept Russell Martin in the eighth spot, a position that has brought out the best in him in his two appearances there. He hit a two-run homer that accounted for Los Angeles' only runs Saturday while hitting eighth, and on Aug. 13, he went 3-for-3 with a walk. "It hasn't hurt him, let's put it that way," Torre said. "I don't think there's any magic formula right now. We need to win a ballgame. He seems to be doing all right hitting eighth, so maybe he can protect Casey [Blake] hitting in front of him." It would be premature to count on getting a boost from outfielder Andruw Jones, rehabbing at Triple-A Las Vegas with patellar tendinitis in his left knee after struggling through a season in which he has hit .161 with three homers, 14 RBIs and 74 strikeouts in 205 at-bats. However, Jones went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a stolen base on Saturday, playing first base to take the strain of playing the outfield off his knees following four days of rest after stepping in a pothole in the outfield. First base would be a possibility to give Loney an occasional day off when Jones returns in September. "I think we've got to get his stroke back first, and then we can play with whatever, but it's depending on who we get back and when," Torre said. "You have Casey Blake over there right now [as a backup at first]. There are a lot of ways we can go, and that certainly would be an option, especially with the outfield situation the way it is now." In other injury news, right-hander Brad Penny (right shoulder inflammation) postponed playing catch until he sees Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who will not return from Beijing until Monday, but Torre said that should not be considered a setback. Penny has not thrown a baseball since pitching three innings on Aug. 13.
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.