SAN FRANCISCO -- First baseman James Loney was not in the starting lineup for the second time in five games Wednesday as the Dodgers look elsewhere for production.
Specifically, they are looking to recently acquired Juan Rivera, who again replaced Loney at first base, even though the pitching matchup -- Giants right-handed ace Tim Lincecum -- appeared to be a tossup between the left-handed-hitting Loney (6-for-33 lifetime against Lincecum) and the right-handed-hitting Rivera (1-for-4).
"I like Juan in there. He's been a run producer," said manager Don Mattingly. "Is he going to be? I don't know. The matchups weren't good."
When club officials like Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti talked Wednesday about the lack of offensive production that led to the dismissal of hitting coach Jeff Pentland, clearly Loney is one of many in the crosshairs.
His .263 batting average is 25 points below his career mark and his 31 RBIs put him on a pace of 51 for the season, after averaging 89 the past three seasons. He has only four home runs after averaging 13 over the past four years.
The apparent disenchantment with Loney bolsters speculation that the Dodgers will try to trade him this offseason and, if they can't, non-tender him rather than risk a 2012 raise over this year's $4.875 million salary.
Hansen takes over as Dodgers hitting coach
SAN FRANCISCO -- Dave Hansen, a former Dodgers player who was coached by Jeff Pentland with the Cubs and served as his assistant until Wednesday, was named to replace Pentland as the interim hitting coach, the club announced.
"It's an odd feeling to inherit this group," Hansen said moments before the Dodgers took batting practice Wednesday. "I've got to tell you how much I've learned from Pent. I had him as a coach, as a mentor. It's the unfortunate part of the business."
Hansen, 42, is the Dodgers' ninth hitting coach in the last nine seasons. He's also the sixth hitting coach in general manager Ned Colletti's six years in charge and the third midseason replacement. Bill Mueller replaced Eddie Murray in 2007 and current manager Don Mattingly replaced Mike Easler in 2008.
Hansen, sixth on baseball's list of all-time pinch-hitters, took the assistant job with the Dodgers after losing out to Don Baylor for Arizona's Major League hitting-coach job over the winter, having coached in the D-backs' Minor League system for four years. He retired as a player after the 2005 season, his 15th in the big leagues.
He said "I have my ideas" on how to shake up the Dodgers' struggling offense, but he wasn't about to put any knocks on Pentland.
"Somebody had to take the bullet. I don't know how else to put it," Hansen said. "He doesn't go out and hit. We lost a good guy today."
Mattingly said he and third-base coach Tim Wallach, a former Dodgers hitting coach, would "pay a little closer attention" to the hitting. Longtime coach Manny Mota, the team's hitting coach from 1980-89, also assists the hitting coach.
"It's a two-man job," said Mattingly. "There's so much video work and you can be in the cage a couple hours. There's time on the computer. It's a big job."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.