Struggling Loney could lose more playing time

Struggling Loney could lose more playing time

LOS ANGELES -- Last week, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly conceded that first baseman James Loney is being platooned, and Tuesday, platooning sounded like a generous description.

Although Loney was in the starting lineup Tuesday (he was 4-for-9 against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong), overall he's off to another bad start.

He's hitting .111 against left-handed pitching, which isn't a shock after his first half last year, but he's also struggling at .237 against right-handers. Combined, he's .198 with one homer and six RBIs, and Mattingly already is sounding like his patience is running thin.

"He's been inconsistent, obviously," Mattingly said of Loney. "Last night he crushes a ball. It's day to day with James."

The Friday addition of outfielder Bobby Abreu gives the Dodgers a proven hitter that allows moving Juan Rivera to first base.

"To me, it gets to the point where it's just a production thing," said Mattingly. "You've got to throw numbers up there, some way, shape or form, and find production."

Mattingly said that means Loney won't necessarily play against right-handers, after already losing playing time against left-handers.

"Juan is starting to look like every day, consistently throwing good at-bats up there," said Mattingly. "Bobby Abreu has been good so far. He's so calm up there. We'll see where it goes."

Mattingly also said he still had room for a versatile right-handed hitter, a spot that would have gone to Jerry Sands if he had a good Spring Training.

"Lefties are still giving us trouble," said Mattingly "[Drew] Pomeranz in Colorado, [Paul] Maholm and [Travis] Wood in Chicago, and [Barry] Zito gave us trouble last night. I don't know what our record is against lefties [8-6 vs. left-handed starters], but we're struggling against them. I still feel there's a need for that. We're still missing that piece that says go right-handed."