05/18/11 3:05 AM ET
Padilla held out with stiffness in forearm
By David Ely / Special to MLB.com
Padilla had surgery during the offseason to free a radial nerve entrapped by a muscle in his right forearm, but Mattingly said the stiffness is unrelated to the procedure that kept Padilla on the disabled list until April 22.
"Talking to [trainer] Stan [Conte] ... didn't really feel like it was in the exact same area," Mattingly said. "It's not really in the nerve. We'll see."
Mattingly said Padilla, who threw 32 pitches in two-thirds of an inning Friday, should be available Wednesday, when the Dodgers begin a two-game series against the San Francisco Giants.
Matt Guerrier assumed the role of closer for the Dodgers on Tuesday and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save of the season and the sixth of his career.
Dodgers drop Loney to seventh spot in order
LOS ANGELES -- For the first time since late in the 2009 season, first baseman James Loney found himself hitting at a spot lower than sixth in the Dodgers' lineup.
Loney and catcher Rod Barajas swapped spots in the batting order for Tuesday's game against the Brewers, putting the slumping first baseman in the seven-hole, just one spot ahead of left fielder Jerry Sands and his .194 batting average.
There's nothing new about Loney's struggles. But as the Dodgers' offense continues to put up small numbers, the club's lack of production out of one of the more marquee offensive positions in the game becomes more pronounced.
Loney is hitting .230 with four extra-base hits, and to get to that point he's had to post a .277 average in 14 May games. Since last year's All-Star break, he's hitting .218 (88-for-403), though, manager Don Mattingly said he doesn't foresee a switch at first in the team's future.
But Mattingly still struggles when searching for an explanation for what's plaguing Loney at the plate.
"What you like for any player, especially the younger guys, is to see that continual improvement getting a little better, a little better and a little better," Mattingly said. "The next thing you know, you've gone from here to here. With James, we just haven't got there. In his defense, it's not because there's no lack of effort in there."
The Dodgers desperately need a third player to complement Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in the heart of the lineup. The Loney who hit .289 and .281 in 2008 and 2009 could possibly fill that hole, and the Dodgers haven't given up hope that he can take on that role.
"We want James to be one of those guys, that's for sure," Mattingly said. "Core group of guys, I think you talk about Matt. You talk about Andre. And I think you talk about James from the offensive and defensive side of it. James is one of the guys that we know if we're going to be successful he's going to have to do something for us."
Uribe focuses on calming down swing
LOS ANGELES -- Juan Uribe might be known for his free-swinging nature and his hellacious hacks in the batter's box, but sometimes that approach gets the best of him and over-swinging ensues.
"He swings too hard at times, and that's what he's been working on in the last couple of days, kind of letting the ball get there," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "The harder he swings, the more he pulls off the ball. So just trying to back the ball up a little bit and not try to swing quite as hard."
For hitters like Uribe, Mattingly said, there's fine line between being aggressive at the plate and over-swinging. And as Uribe has scuffled through a 6-for-47 (.128) start to the month, pushing his average down to the .200 range, that line has been crossed a number of times.
It was only one game, but Uribe put together a couple of good at-bats against Milwaukee on Monday night. He drew a fourth-inning walk, singled in the seventh and was robbed of a solo home run by Carlos Gomez in the second inning.
"When he's going good, you can see that he's a little bit more under control and swings not quite as hard," Mattingly said.
Mattingly eyes Gibbons-Sands platoon in left
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have a new platoon in left field. A day after Jay Gibbons got the start against Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Shaun Marcum, rookie Jerry Sands was in the lineup as the Dodgers faced left-hander Randy Wolf.
Prior to Tuesday's game, manager Don Mattingly indicated that would be how he handles left field for the immediate future. The left-handed-hitting Gibbons would start against righties, while the right-handed Sands would see action against lefties.
Gibbons went 1-for-3 with a double Monday (his third start of the season since getting reinstated off the disabled list May 3). Sands entered Tuesday hitting .194 in 22 games since his callup from Triple-A Albuquerque on April 18.
Mattingly also said third baseman Casey Blake could see time in left field at some point this season to give a regular a day off. Blake is on the disabled list with a left elbow infection, but he's expected to begin a rehab assignment in Albuquerque on Friday and could rejoin the team in late May.
David Ely is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.