LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have had a number of surprise players this year that were called up and found a way to stick with the team.
Jerry Sands was not one of them. While players like Elian Herrera and Luis Cruz earned their way into everyday roles, Sands hit only .200 in eight games with the Dodgers earlier this season before being sent back to Triple-A Albuquerque.
But ever since altering his swing around the All-Star break back to what it used to be a few years ago, the 24-year-old has been on fire, and he earned himself a spot back with the big league club on Monday.
"I'm a little more comfortable at the plate, so it's easier to go up there and know what I'm doing," Sands said. "I wouldn't say a whole lot has changed other than that, just being comfortable and having my old swing."
Sands estimates he has made two or three total swing changes in the last two years, but he's back to how it was before tinkering with it. His hands are now above his shoulders and his feet are wider apart.
Since the All-Star break, Sands led the Pacific Coast League with nine homers, a .733 slugging percentage and 28 RBIs in 23 games. Two of those home runs and eight of those RBIs came in one game on July 29, when Sands became the fifth PCL player to hit two grand slams in a game.
That sort of power earned him a callup and a chance to prove himself with the Dodgers. He started Monday in right field to give Andre Ethier a day off and he figures to mostly back up in the outfield, although he can play first base, too.
Report: Victorino wants to remain with Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- Newly acquired outfielder Shane Victorino told his agents that he would like re-sign with the Dodgers, according to a report from ESPNLosAngeles.com.
"I don't want to just be a two-month or three-month rental," Victorino said in the report. "I want to be here."
The two-time All-Star was acquired by the Dodgers at the Trade Deadline in exchange for reliever Josh Lindblom and Minor League pitcher Ethan Martin. Victorino is in the last year of a three-year, $22 million contract.
Victorino began his career with the Dodgers after being drafted in the sixth round in 1999. He eventually moved on to Philadelphia, where he developed into one of the game's top outfielders while helping the Phillies win a World Series in 2008.
His numbers have declined this year. He entered Monday's game batting .255 with nine homers, 40 RBIs and 47 runs. He went 2-for-17 in his first four games with the Dodgers.
Ethier sits as Dodgers look to keep stars fresh
LOS ANGELES -- Andre Ethier was out of the starting lineup Monday, but manager Don Mattingly said it was simply to give his right fielder a day off.
Lefties are hitting only .136 against Colorado starter Drew Pomeranz, so Mattingly figured it would be a good day to rest Ethier, who said he feels fine. Coming off a day game and with an off-day Thursday, Mattingly said this was the perfect time to give Ethier a breather to keep him fresh down the stretch.
He plans to do the same thing with Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino in the not-so-distant future.
"I don't want to do it all in one day where everybody is all of a sudden out of the lineup," Mattingly said. "I have to try to do it sporadically with a piece here and a piece there so I can keep the lineup intact."
Walks don't worry Mattingly in Blanton's LA debut
LOS ANGELES -- In his Dodgers debut on Sunday, Joe Blanton did something he rarely does this season and then followed it up with something he has done often.
Blanton came to the Dodgers tied atop the National League in home runs allowed with 22, but at the same time, he was acquired with the lowest walks-per-nine-innings average with a 1.22 clip.
On Sunday, he gave up his 23rd home run of the season after having walked three batters for only the second time this season.
Manager Don Mattingly wasn't concerned.
"I thought Joe was good," he said. "This guy has four pitches, he pretty much locates everything, he's been a low walk guy. I know he walked a couple guys [Sunday], but the walks were not all over. They were all borderline strikes."
Blanton said the walks weren't because of nerves playing at home in Dodger Stadium for the first time, and he shrugged them off casually after the game. Blanton gave up two runs in six innings while not factoring in the decision in the Dodgers' 7-6 win over the Cubs.
"Sometimes you get balls," he said. "Sometimes you don't."
Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.