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Werth Starts Getting Into Swing of Things

Times Staff Writer

Having started the season on the disabled list because of a broken left wrist and having returned to the disabled list this month because of bursitis in his left knee, Dodger outfielder Jayson Werth feels as if he is just getting started and that being injured a second time was “a blessing in disguise.”

Said Werth: “The good news is, there’s still [43] games left, time to show the organization that I am the player they chose to be the everyday guy.”

He has been showing it of late.

In his last three games, Werth is six for 11 with a game-winning two-run home run against the New York Mets’ Pedro Martinez on Sunday, a three-for-four game with two runs scored and a steal Tuesday, and two hits and a run batted in Wednesday.

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His second stint on the disabled list allowed him to work more extensively with hitting coach Tim Wallach, something he never had the time to do when he returned the first time after being struck on the wrist by a pitch in spring training.

“I was rushing back, trying to get in playing shape,” he said.

“For those ... days I did nothing but work on fixing those bad mechanics. I had a leak in my swing. It wasn’t a big thing, but it was enough to take my eye off the ball.”

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Manager Jim Tracy began his Dodger career as Davey Johnson’s bench coach in 1999, led the team to a 3-1 mark in 2000 when Johnson was absent because of a heart problem, and took over that fall when Johnson was fired.

Tracy’s response to the news that Johnson, 62, had been selected manager of the United States team for next month’s 18-nation World Cup in the Netherlands that will feature professional minor leaguers?

“I’m tickled to see that,” Tracy said. “I’m going to have to call him to see if he needs a coach.”

Johnson was the last batter to get a hit against Dodger great Sandy Koufax, doing it for the Baltimore Orioles in the sixth inning of Game 2 of the 1966 World Series.

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Former Dodger reliever Scott Radinsky will be the U.S. pitching coach for the World Cup.

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Outfielder Jason Repko suffered a sprained middle finger and thumb on his left hand sliding headfirst into the plate Tuesday and did not play Wednesday....Ricky Ledee, whom Tracy said he planned to start in the outfield, was relegated to pinch-hitting duty because of a tender left hamstring. Ledee hit into a fielder’s choice.


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