Colletti: Overall, Dodgers need to play better

Colletti: Overall, Dodgers need to play better

DENVER -- General manager Ned Colletti, whose Dodgers started play Friday night tied for last in the National League West, said his club has shown signs of contending this season, but that isn't enough.

"You can always say 'if this, if that,' but 'if' is the most overused word in the English language when something doesn't go your way," said Colletti. "I believe we're on the verge of doing good things, but we've still got to do them."

In a wide-ranging overview of the first 64 games, Colletti praised Matt Kemp for taking his game to another level "across the board," but implied that the club needs more players to join him if it wants to compete.

"I want to see us play better," Colletti said. "We easily could have been 5-1 coming out of Cincinnati and Philadelphia and we had a four-run lead twice last night but couldn't hold it. We were close, but you have to win those games. Close gives you hope, which is not bad to have, but it doesn't win you a game."

Colletti said he's been most disappointed in the Dodgers offense, "especially in the clutch ... you can't help but be concerned." The Dodgers were batting .229 with runners in scoring position entering Friday night's game against the Rockies and were 13th in the league in runs scored and runners stranded.

Colletti cited the 18 disabling injuries as a contributing factor, particularly for its impact on the bullpen, which has suffered five of those injuries. Included is closer Jonathan Broxton, whom Colletti said might be back later this month. But he said the injuries are not reason enough for the poor results.

"We've held up pretty well considering the 18 injuries," he said. "Our starting pitching has kept us in games. But we lost the back five of our bullpen, and that doesn't count [Ronald] Belisario, who never made it into the country. That's a lot to ask for."

Colletti also elaborated on manager Don Mattingly's comments about the Thursday demotion of Jerry Sands and the promotion of Trent Oeltjen. Like Mattingly, Colletti felt Sands wasn't making the proper adjustments at the plate and needed to regroup in a less stressful setting. Among the reasons Oeltjen was promoted is the fact that he has a June 15 out in his contract and Colletti didn't want to lose his plus defense, so essentially he was kept over Jay Gibbons.

Colletti said Gibbons accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Albuquerque. Juan Castro is considering the same.

He said the adjustments Sands needs to make in his swing are "a small fix. He doesn't need a makeover, but he needs to do it and make it part of what he does."