Sands learning to relax in second stint in LA

Sands learning to relax in second stint in LA

Sands learning to relax in second stint in LA
LOS ANGELES -- Jerry Sands didn't need to make any adjustments to his swing or his approach.

All the Dodgers rookie outfielder needed was for a hit or two to sneak through. Well, they started sneaking through Monday, and by Tuesday those hits were already line drives.

"A few hits fall in here and there, and you can relax a little bit and take a few deep breaths," Sands said.

After just one hit in his first 14 at-bats since being called up, Sands now has five in his last six. On Tuesday, he was 2-for-2 and worked a pair of tough walks. His first-inning double off National League Cy Young candidate Ian Kennedy of the D-backs came on a 1-2 pitch.

Sands struggled in his first stint with the club earlier in the season, and he noted he was trying to avoid falling into a similar slump.

"More than anything, it's kind of just mental," Sands said. "I was just coming up here to try and not fail again, so I was trying to do too much, coming off my legs. I just had to slow down and relax a little bit."

Manager Don Mattingly said he's already noticing Sands feeling more comfortable.

"He looks like he's starting to relax a little bit," Mattingly said. "Hits always help. You get a couple hits you just feel better, and that's what you're looking for with Jerry and all the young guys, you want them to take that breath."

Mattingly has started Sands in each of the last six games and he gave him the start again on Wednesday. He noted Sands would see some time at first base as the season winds down and said he plans to keep using the highly touted prospect on a daily basis.

"Sometimes it's probably good for them to get a little tired and battle when they're not all jacked up, when they can just relax and play," Mattingly said.

Sands wouldn't want it any other way.

"One at-bat a day and one at-bat every couple days makes it pretty tough to get a rhythm," Sands said. "Pinch-hitting is a lot harder than it seems. Playing on a daily basis, getting three, four, five at-bats a day is big. You get rhythm, you get timing."