04/12/08 10:45 PM ET
Weight is not issue for Jones, Dodgers
Slugger's early season slump attributed to overeagerness
By Ted Brock / Special to MLB.com
Casual observers, after a look or two at Andruw Jones over the first two weeks of the season, might suggest Robbie Robertson's signature tune with The Band: "The Weight."
Manager Joe Torre, general manager Ned Colletti and Jones himself might choose a song from Torre and Colletti's era: Otis Redding's version of the Sam Cooke tune, "A Change Is Gonna Come."
Jones came into Saturday night's game with San Diego hitting .114. He struck out 11 times in 35 at-bats over the first 10 games. He was 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. In his mind, perceived problems with his weight have little or nothing to do with it. Torre and Colletti concur.
"I'm anxious to get it done," Jones said. "I'm anxious to get it going. I just need to relax."
Colletti deferred to Dodgers scouts who watched Jones struggle at the plate in 2007, when he hit .226 in his final season with Atlanta.
"His mechanics and his fundamentals were there, [the scouts] told us," Torre said. "But he hasn't been able to carry that into the games. ... He looks good in the batting cage at 4:30, but you've got to be able to do it at 7:30.
"And I don't think his weight has anything to do with his mechanics."
Torre, whose Saturday lineup included Jones in the sixth spot, said, "He doesn't feel his body is responsible for the fact that he's not hitting. It's easy to jump on that bandwagon, and I'm not doing it."
Torre concurred with Jones on the topic of anxiousness -- and anxiety -- in Jones' approach at the plate.
"When you're not hitting," Torre said, "you walk up there from the on-deck circle and in your mind it's 0-and-2 already."
Or as Colletti put it, "[Jones is] obviously struggling. You can see it in his approach. Never discount confidence. I think it's weighing heavily on him."
Right now, with four hits in 35 trips to the plate, Jones said he's ready to seize on anything positive.
"An infield hit, a groundout -- if I hit it hard, I take that as a positive sign," Jones said. "You can look at tape, do whatever you want to make it repeat itself, but it's a matter of getting used to doing something good, getting into a habit. You've got to get positive even though it's messing with your mind. This game is so mental."
Ted Brock is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.