05/20/08 3:39 AM ET
Jones sits with swollen right knee
Outfielder likely out for Reds series, to be re-evaluated Friday
By John Klima / Special to MLB.com
"We'll see where he is at on Friday and go from there," Torre said.
Jones did not start Monday night against the Reds because of a swollen and sore right knee.
In Jones's place, Matt Kemp started in center field, Juan Pierre was in left field and Andre Ethier started in right field. Kemp went 4-for-4 and had two outfield assists to take over the Major League lead with seven assists.
Jones' injury comes just as it seemed he could be turning the corner at the plate. Torre said he thought he saw some positive signs in Milwaukee on the last road trip, but felt that Jones's sore knee contributed to a regression over the weekend against the Angels. Jones went 3-for-20 on the recent road trip.
"He's had a cranky right knee," Torre said before the game. "It's just a combination where he has struggled with the bat and he's flying out on the front side. I just decided to give him the night off."
"The last two days he's gotten away from where he was headed. In Milwaukee, I thought I saw some really good signs. He had a home run, a couple of line drives up the middle and he put the ball in play. He was showing me things that he was starting to get a feel for what he was doing. The knee was part of what the problem was. The approach changed somewhat. It got him out of his game and led to some strikeouts."
Torre also defended the struggling center fielder, who has a .167 batting average in 42 games, with two home runs and 17 RBIs in 132 at-bats in the first season of a two-year, $36 million contract.
"For starters, he started off slowly and he's playing for a new organization after playing for one organization his entire career," Torre said. "A lot of times, they don't admit that there are any emotions, but having been around as long as I have been, there are."
"He's a very proud individual," Torre said. "I think maybe some people think he doesn't care, but nothing could be further from the truth. He cares very deeply and he has a bunch of teammates who are pulling like hell for him."
Jones had success after sessions with hitting instructor Don Mattingly. Torre said the Dodgers will see Mattingly in Chicago.
"We're going to see him in Chicago," Torre said. "His impact is still felt. I think one thing he helps with is the mental approach. You get up there and you start thinking mechanically about your swing, and all of the sudden, strike one. It's not easy."
John Klima is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.