Lineup questions loom for LA as Dee nears return

Lineup questions loom for LA as Dee nears return

LOS ANGELES -- Manager Don Mattingly has been impressed with Luis Cruz and the stability he has brought to the Dodgers' lineup over the past month. Playing third base mostly with Hanley Ramirez shifted over to shortstop, Cruz has given Los Angeles consistent production from a position that has been a problem area most of the season.

Cruz went 13-for-29 on the team's 10-game road trip and he batted 6-for-11 in the team's most recent three-game set against Atlanta. Mattingly said Jerry Hairston will likely need more than 15 days on the disabled list (he started his rehab Monday night at Camelback Ranch in Arizona), which creates a greater need for Cruz in the lineup.

If the utility infielder continues to hit like he has been lately, Mattingly will have a tough decision to make down the stretch with Dee Gordon working his way back from a right thumb UCL tear.

The original plan was to move Ramirez back to third base when Gordon was healthy so the team could insert the speedy shortstop back at his original position.

"Right now, it's hard to think about it," Mattingly said. "We don't have to worry about it. Luis is swinging the bat really well and we're playing well right now. We'll see where Dee fits in. He's a week away from being able to play games, so we're just ways away from Dee being ready to play."