© 2012 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

04/21/12 7:25 PM ET

Versatile Sellers makes first start at third in '12

HOUSTON -- Justin Sellers, a valuable piece of this Dodgers club that leads the National League West, made his first start of the season at third base in Saturday's game.

Sellers made his second start of the year at shortstop Friday night and also started another game at second base.

"I'm getting more comfortable over there," Sellers said of playing third. "Actually, I feel really comfortable over there."

The versatile Sellers can play anywhere in the infield and the corner outfield positions, too, making him more valuable to the Dodgers.

"I think that's important, not to be just a shortstop," he said. "To have some games at second, and play it well, and to play third. I played a little corner outfield in Triple-A before I got called up [last Aug. 12]. I could also play the outfield in a pinch."

Sellers, a mere 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds, played in 36 games last year with the Dodgers, starting 32 at second, short or third. He committed only one error.

Manager Don Mattingly likes Sellers for his defense.

"That's great to know, when your manager Don Mattingly has a compliment," said Sellers. "I was always a shortstop coming up. I didn't start playing third until my last year in Triple-A. I handled myself there and I think that opened up some eyes. 'Sellers can do this, Sellers can do that.'

"I don't care where he puts me. Just to know he's putting me in the lineup is a good feeling. I'm comfortable, shortstop, second or third. It really doesn't matter."

"In this league, you need guys who can play everywhere," Mattingly said. "You want versatility through the course of the game so that you can double [switch]. If Sellers gets where he hits consistently, he has a chance to be an everyday player. He has a chance to be a good National League player for a long time. He can play short. He can pick it. Great hands. In the infield, I'd put him with anybody [defensively]."

Batting leadoff, Sellers started Friday's game with a single and scored two batters later when Matt Kemp homered. He also walked in the fourth en route to a 1-for-4 game, but is hitting only .200 for the season.

"I never try to give away at-bats," he said. "When you've got guys like Kemp and Ethier hitting in the middle of the lineup, it's important for us guys hitting early to get on base. Almost anything can happen [with those guys at the plate]. It's awesome."

Houston native Loney recalls rooting for Astros

HOUSTON -- Dodgers first baseman James Loney said it will seem weird next year when the Astros move to the American League.

Loney grew up in Houston, cheering for Astros legends Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. He remembered the excitement when Houston acquired left-hander Randy Johnson in 1998.

"I remember going to games back at the Dome," Loney said of the old Astrodome, where the Astros played before 2000.

Loney, who hit a solo shot in the second inning Saturday off Astros starter Kyle Weiland, played several high school playoff games at the Astrodome and one at Minute Maid Park, current home of the Astros.

"It was cool, getting the chance to play in a big league park in high school," he said.

Loney starred as a pitcher in high school as well as with his hitting. He posted a 9-1 record with a 1.08 ERA his senior year at Elkins High School. He also batted .509 with eight homers and 56 RBIs.

"They pretty much told me they wanted me as a hitter," said, a first-round Draft choice of the Dodgers in 2002. "I thought about [pitching]."

He still owns a home in Houston and said he is "back-and-forth" between southeast Texas and the West Coast. He contributed a double in a 1-for-4 performance in Friday night's 3-1 win at Minute Maid Park.

Matt Carpenter, St. Louis' rookie first baseman, and Chad Huffman, an outfielder for the Indians, were teammates of Loney's in high school when Elkins won the state championship his senior year.

Hairston not in lineup after three straight starts

HOUSTON -- Dodgers third baseman Jerry Hairston, after starting three games in a row, was given Saturday night off by manager Don Mattingly.

Hairston had been the defensive star of wins Thursday at Milwaukee and Friday at Houston.

When Houston's Jose Altuve lashed a single just inside third base in the third inning, Hairston fielded the ricochet off the stands down the left-field line and easily threw out Altuve trying to stretch the hit into a double.

"I was anticipating him going [to second], because I would have gone," Hairston said. "You want to be aggressive in that situation. It had to be the perfect storm for me to make a play on it. Everything had to go my way and it did."

In the fifth inning with the Dodgers leading, 3-1, and the Astros up with the bases loaded and two outs, Hairston knocked down a drive by Jed Lowrie and scrambled to third base for a force out that ended the inning.

"I pride myself on defense," said Hairston, whom, at 35, is playing with his ninth team. "It's been my calling card my whole career. You can't always hit. You want to make sure you're a complete player. That's something I've always prided myself in."

Hairston received the start at third the past two days because regular Juan Uribe was out with an inflamed left wrist. He also started one game at second base and two in left field.

"I like my role," he said. "The bottom line is winning. I'm at the point in my career, I wanted to come to a team that had a chance to win. There's nothing like playing in the postseason, playing for a ring. We feel we have a chance to do something special here.

"I don't have to play every single day. I'm not going for Cal Ripken's streak. That's not my deal. My goal is just to be productive when I have a chance to play and have us healthy for the stretch run. Nowadays it's tough to play 162."

Mattingly wanted to give Hairston a day of rest Saturday.

"All of a sudden, he's played three in a row," Mattingly said. "I don't want him getting [worn out]."

Gene Duffey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.