Hitless to start year, Cruz turns to father for advice

Hitless to start year, Cruz turns to father for advice

SAN DIEGO -- Slumping Dodgers infielder Luis Cruz, who entered Tuesday's game against the Padres 0-for-17, checked in over the weekend with his personal hitting coach, Papa Cruz.

"He told me, 'You know what you can do, they know what you can do. Don't let it get into your head,'" said Cruz. "He said, 'Go have fun. It looks like you're not having fun. You look a little jump.'"

Cruz was on the bench for Tuesday's series opener against the Padres, but manager Don Mattingly said that decision wasn't really about Cruz. Juan Uribe is 10-for-26 lifetime against San Diego starter Clayton Richard, while Cruz is 1-for-7.

"I had it in my mind to play Cruzer, then I went over the matchups and it's kind of a spot for Juan," said Mattingly. "The computer got Luis today."

Cruz said he agrees with his father, a hitting coach in the Mexican League, that he's "swinging at balls and taking first-pitch strikes."

"I don't think it's a big deal," Cruz said. "I'm not letting it get in my head. I feel good in the cage. I'll be fine."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.