Dodger catcher Carlos Hernandez sits idly on the bench these days, trying to figure out just what went wrong.
He was considered one of the best back-up catchers in baseball, and when Mike Piazza suffered a torn thumb ligament, he figured to be the everyday catcher. Instead he went into a dreadful slump, lost confidence and, in turn, the Dodgers have lost confidence in him.
"I wish I had a chance to do it all over again," said Hernandez, who's batting .075 without an extra-base hit. "I had my chance. But the pressure, it got to me. It's like I felt I had to do what Mike did, and that was impossible."
Mark Parent endured the same fate in 1990 when he was thrust into the starting role for the San Diego Padres when Benito Santiago broke his arm. He struggled, was traded, bounced around between the minors and the big leagues, and now has become the Pittsburgh Pirates' starting catcher.
"The pressure can be unbelievable," Parent said.
"It becomes a mental thing. The toughest thing is nothing Carlos did would have been good enough, and being so close to the fans as a catcher, you hear everything:
" 'Piazza could have driven in that run. Piazza would have hit two homers. Piazza would have thrown that guy out.' It just destroys your confidence.
"I think the best thing to happen to Carlos would be for him to go to the minors. He needs to be Mr. Hernandez again. He can't let what happened destroy his career."
While Dodger left fielders continue to struggle, Fred Claire, executive vice president, said he's not interested in obtaining New York Yankee outfielder Danny Tartabull.
"We want to stay within the organization," Claire said. "We're not going to deviate from that."
Rick Parker has started the last three games in left field, but the Dodgers plan to go back and try Billy Ashley in left today against the Chicago Cubs.
The Dodgers activated Rudy Seanez from the disabled list and sent Felix Rodriguez to triple-A Albuquerque. They also sent Antonio Osuna to Albuquerque on a rehabilitative assignment. Seanez, the primary set-up man for closer Todd Worrell, has been out since May 27 because of a strained right groin.