Manny trying to find rhythm at plate

Manny trying to find rhythm at plate

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez homered on Monday, his only hit in the Dodgers' wild 5-4 win over the D-backs.

Ramirez's batting average after missing 14 games on the disabled list with a strained calf is at .200 (12-for-60), dating to May 8. He did not appear happy with his swings in the batting cage Tuesday, slapping and talking to the bat after finishing his swings more than once.

"It's a rhythm thing, it's timing," manager Joe Torre said.

Matt Kemp has been picking up the slack. He's on a six-game hit streak and leads the National League with 42 runs scored and is second in the league with 106 total bases. He was 3-for-4 with a double, RBI, stolen base and a strikeout on Monday.

Andre Ethier missed two weeks and was 0-for-4 in his debut from the disabled list Monday night.

"Ethier will probably be a couple days," manager Joe Torre said. "It looked yesterday like he tried to pull a lot of balls. All that's a timing thing. Manny and Ethier in the middle of the lineup, hopefully Matt can reap the rewards of that. Yesterday he had a good day. When it's four guys to share the load, it doesn't fall on one guy and eases up the pressure a little bit."

Torre said he didn't think Ramirez's virtual silence to the media and the fact that he's in his free-agent year are affecting his play or clubhouse presence.

"When he come on board a couple years ago, it was a lot more bells and whistles," Torre said. "It's the same relationship with players from what I get ... it's all about what we can accomplish together while we're together."

Younger players sniffing their first major contract are more likely to let it get under their skin than veterans, Torre said.