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08/14/12 7:27 PM ET

Choate saves face with quick snag of comebacker

PITTSBURGH -- Violence isn't as integral an aspect of baseball as it is in some other sports, but you'd be terribly mistaken to suggest that America's pastime is without any danger.

A fine illustration of the risks involved occurred in the seventh inning of Monday's game, when Pirates second baseman Neil Walker dug in against Dodgers reliever Randy Choate with two on and two out.

In a 1-0 count, Choate threw a low fastball to Walker, who smoked the pitch right back at the pitcher's face. Somehow, Choate was able to spear the ball, protecting both himself and the Dodgers' two-run lead.

"He was right on it," Choate said. "It came back at me. I saw it the whole way, even though it was hit pretty hard. It was definitely hit harder back at me than I think I threw it to the plate.

"It's just kind of reflexes at that point. It was literally coming right at my face. It was more self-defense than anything else. If I was Walker, I'd sure be [upset] because he hit the ball really well. Luckily for me, my glove happened to be there. I know my face is definitely appreciative."

Mattingly plays matchups vs. Pirates' Correia

PITTSBURGH -- A day after he was charged with two errors, veteran second baseman Mark Ellis was not in the Dodgers' starting lineup for Tuesday's game against the Pirates.

In his place, Don Mattingly started Luis Cruz at second, but the manager made it clear the decision had nothing to do with Ellis' defensive miscues on Monday night and more to do with the way he has hit Pirates starter Kevin Correia in the past.

"We need to give Mark a day here somewhere in this series," Mattingly said Tuesday. "With him, I can't just play him every day. I've got to give him a day, and today's the day that works out."

Mattingly chose Tuesday to sit Ellis because he has one hit in 10 at-bats against Correia.

Conversely, the manager likes how Juan Uribe has fared against Correia in the past. Uribe, who started at third base and hit second on Tuesday in his first start since July 22, was 8-for-17 with a double and a homer against the Pirates righty.

Before Tuesday, Correia had made 26 appearances against the Dodgers, including 12 starts. He was 5-4 with a 4.20 ERA when facing Los Angeles.

"He's a guy that's given us trouble," Mattingly said. "He's a guy that's kind of a little funky -- good slider. It seems like he's just kind of a little bit wild enough, just wild enough to kind of keep you off balance. We haven't had a lot of success with him, but we'll see. We've got some different guys in the lineup."

Mattingly was also hoping shortstop Hanley Ramirez would continue his success against Correia. Ramirez was 6-for-18 with two doubles, a home run and four RBIs against the Pirates starter.

Dodgers standing by League through rocky start

PITTSBURGH -- Since he joined the Dodgers on July 31, relief pitcher Brandon League hasn't made a very good positive first impression with his new club.

In 2 2/3 innings over five games, the righty has allowed five runs on seven hits, giving him a 16.88 ERA. Despite the numbers, his new manager, Don Mattingly, knows he has what it takes to turn things around.

"He's just up in the zone. He's just sideways," Mattingly said. "Right now, the way he's throwing the ball, it's not working out. It makes me a little skittish, that's for sure. But I know it's there."

League came to Los Angeles from Seattle, where he had a 3.26 ERA over 2 1/2 years.

During the first half of this season, League threw 44 2/3 innings for the Mariners. On the year, he's tossed 47 1/3 innings, trailing only closer Kenley Jansen among Dodgers relievers.

"You can't always get off to a great start," Mattingly said. "We've just got to stay with him, keep him working, keep him positive and get him in the mix where he's throwing the ball good, just like anybody else who's going through a stretch, or whatever."

Worth noting

• Shane Victorino entered Tuesday riding a seven-game hitting streak. In that span, the left fielder is batting .367 (11-for-30) with seven runs scored, three doubles, a home run and five RBIs.

• Jerry Hairston will undergo testing on his left hip on Wednesday, manager Don Mattingly reported. Elian Herrera, who filled Hairston's place when he went on the 15-day disabled list on Monday, has joined the club in Pittsburgh and is ready to play.

• Tuesday marked the 53rd birthday for Dodgers part-owner and Lakers legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson.

Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.