Rivera starts in place of scuffling Loney

Rivera starts in place of scuffling Loney

Rivera starts in place of scuffling Loney
SAN FRANCISCO -- First baseman James Loney was not in the starting lineup for the second time in five games Wednesday as the Dodgers look elsewhere for production.

Specifically, they are looking to recently acquired Juan Rivera, who again replaced Loney at first base, even though the pitching matchup -- Giants right-handed ace Tim Lincecum -- appeared to be a tossup between the left-handed-hitting Loney (6-for-33 lifetime against Lincecum) and the right-handed-hitting Rivera (1-for-4).

"I like Juan in there. He's been a run producer," said manager Don Mattingly. "Is he going to be? I don't know. The matchups weren't good."

When club officials like Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti talked Wednesday about the lack of offensive production that led to the dismissal of hitting coach Jeff Pentland, clearly Loney is one of many in the crosshairs.

His .263 batting average is 25 points below his career mark and his 31 RBIs put him on a pace of 51 for the season, after averaging 89 the past three seasons. He has only four home runs after averaging 13 over the past four years.

The apparent disenchantment with Loney bolsters speculation that the Dodgers will try to trade him this offseason and, if they can't, non-tender him rather than risk a 2012 raise over this year's $4.875 million salary.