Werth Gets Starts Over Roberts

Times Staff Writer

Dave Roberts is a part-time player again. Jayson Werth and not Roberts will start in left field against most left-handers, with Cesar Izturis replacing Roberts as the leadoff hitter, Manager Jim Tracy said Thursday.

“Initially, I didn’t think it was a platoon situation, but that’s the way it’s shaping up to be,” said Roberts, whose .390 on-base percentage is the highest among Dodger regulars and whose 21 stolen bases rank second in the National League.

Roberts, 33, is a career .266 hitter against left-handers. Werth has only 46 career at-bats against left-handers, with six hits, but Tracy said he can add a powerful dimension to the Dodger lineup.


“He brings an element to our club against left-handed pitching that is very intriguing,” Tracy said. “It’s safe to say he has not just good power but tremendous power.”

Werth has three hits in 16 at-bats against left-handers this season. Two of those hits were home runs, including the game winner Wednesday.

Roberts sat out three weeks because of a hamstring injury, and Tracy said the rest could help “keep David’s legs sound.” Tracy stopped short of using the word “platoon” and said Roberts would not necessarily sit against every left-hander.

“That’s the way it is right now,” Roberts said. “As long as we keep winning, everything’s great.”


One night after closer Eric Gagne struck out in his first at-bat in two years, Gagne acknowledged the risk of injury while batting but said he was not concerned about the possibility.

“It happens sometimes,” he said. “But I’ve never thought about it, and I won’t. I’m not worried about it. I’m worried about getting people out.”


In 1992, before the advent of interleague play, the Angels’ Chuck Finley injured himself while running out a bunt and sat out three weeks. Although Gagne is similarly inexperienced at the plate, and he could have been hurt by a wayward pitch or an awkward swing, Tracy did not employ a double switch when he summoned Gagne in the top of the eighth inning Wednesday, with the pitcher’s spot due up third in the bottom of the inning.

“We don’t do things out of fear,” Tracy said. “I’m not going to weaken my defense when I’ve just brought in the best pitcher in the game, just to avoid having him hit.”


Opponent -- New York Yankees, three games.

Site -- Dodger Stadium.

TV -- Channel 13 tonight, Channel 11 on Saturday, ESPN on Sunday.

Radio -- KFWB (980), KWKW (1330).

Records -- Dodgers 35-28, Yankees 42-22.

Record vs. Yankees -- First meeting in regular season.

Tonight, 7 -- Jeff Weaver (4-7, 4.54) vs. Javier Vazquez (7-4, 3.43).

Saturday, noon -- Hideo Nomo (3-7, 7.56) vs. Brad Halsey (0-0, 0.00).

Sunday, 5 p.m. -- Jose Lima (5-2, 3.67) vs. Jose Contreras (4-2, 6.20).