Mat­tingly says that the vet­eran short­stop hasn’t lost his job de­spite strug­gles.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Bill Shaikin

On Tues­day, for the first time in his distin­guished 16year ca­reer, Jimmy Rollins started a game bat­ting ninth.

On Wed­nes­day, the short­stop did not start at all, the third con­sec­u­tive time the Dodgers have left him out of the lineup against a left-handed pitcher, this time against a pitcher Rollins had tagged for eight hits in 18 at-bats.

The Dodgers’ best prospect, and per­haps the best prospect in base­ball, is a short­stop, Corey Sea­ger.

How­ever, with the Dodgers in first place and Sea­ger with 40 games of ex­pe­ri­ence above the dou­ble-A level, Man­ager Don Mat­tingly said that Rollins re­mains the Dodgers’ reg­u­lar short­stop.

“I don’t think we need to sit here and rush any­body,” Mat­tingly said be­fore the Dodgers’ 5-3 loss to the Texas Rangers on Wed­nes­day.

Clay­ton Ker­shaw (5-4) lost for the first time since May 21. Ker­shaw gave up four runs, two a home run by rookie Joey Gallo that landed high in the right-field pav­il­ion, and five hits in six in­nings.

Ker­shaw struck out 10 bat­ters and walked one.

“This is prob­a­bly the most frus­trat­ing game I’ve ever pitched,” Ker­shaw said.

The Dodgers lost their third con­sec­u­tive game and scored no more than four runs for the sixth con­sec­u­tive game.

“To me, the frus­tra­tion is ba­si­cally a pic­ture of our club right now,” Mat­tingly said.

Scott Van Slyke, ac­ti­vated Wed­nes­day from the dis­abled list, hit a two-run home run for the Dodgers. The team is 2 1⁄2 games ahead of the San Fran­cisco Giants in the NL West.

The Dodgers and Giants open a three-game se­ries Fri­day at Dodger Sta­dium.

The Dodgers ac­quired Rollins in De­cem­ber, hop­ing the 2007 Na­tional League most valu­able player would serve as a lead­off hitter, club­house leader and sturdy bridge to Sea­ger.

Rollins, 36, is bat­ting .198, the low­est fig­ure among reg­u­lar ma­jor league short­stops, with a .261 on-base per­cent­age and .332 slug­ging per­cent­age. The Dodgers most of­ten bat him eighth. He has two hits, both sin­gles, and one walk in his last 21 plate ap­pear­ances.

Rollins said he has made “def­i­nitely pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions” on de­fense and in the club­house as he works on his of­fense.

“Two out of three is about what I have now,” he said, “un­til the of­fen­sive side comes.

“We’re all wait­ing for it. I’m not wor­ried about it. I’d love to see the re­sults, but wor­ry­ing will never solve any­thing. I’ll just stay in the cage and get to work.”

Rollins said Mat­tingly lets him know in ad­vance when he will get a day off. He said Mat­tingly has had no dis­cus­sion with him about a re­duced role.

Mat­tingly said there is no pla­toon at short­stop. Rollins has got­ten days off against left-han­ders be­cause the backup short­stop for now is En­rique Her­nan­dez, who bats right-handed.

Mat­tingly also said Rollins re­mains a valu­able con­trib­u­tor even when he is not hit­ting.

“As far as his at­ti­tude and what he brings to the ta­ble, noth­ing has changed,” Mat­tingly said. “I know he’s not happy with the way he is swing­ing the bat. It hasn’t af­fected his per­son­al­ity. It hasn’t af­fected his de­fense.”

Sea­ger, 21, is bat­ting .296 at triple-A Ok­la­homa City, with a .351 on-base per­cent­age and .459 slug­ging per­cent­age.

The Hous­ton Astros re­cently called up their highly touted triple-A short­stop, Car­los Cor­rea, but the Astros also had a need be­cause vet­eran in­cum­bent Jed Lowrie is on the dis­abled list.

So long as Rollins is healthy and the Dodgers are win­ning, Mat­tingly said, why not give Sea­ger more de­vel­op­ment time, so he can stick in the ma­jors for good once he ar­rives?

“Look at all the guys they build up,” Mat­tingly said, “and 95% of them a month or a month and a half later are be­low-av­er­age guys. They get this great big build-up, and then we don’t talk about them any more.”

If Rollins were in­jured, Mat­tingly said, then the Dodgers likely would pro- mote Sea­ger rather than ac­quire a vet­eran stop­gap.

“To me, he’s next in line,” Mat­tingly said. “I don’t think they’d go out and try to find a short­stop.”

The fu­ture is com­ing, and soon enough. For now, Mat­tingly said the Dodgers have no plans to push Rollins aside for Sea­ger.

“Ev­ery­body knows what is go­ing to hap­pen at some point,” Mat­tingly said. “The kid is go­ing to be here, and the kid is go­ing to be a great player.”

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