It appears Orlando Hudson might no longer be the Dodgers’ starting second baseman.
Manager Joe Torre sounded non-committal Sunday as recent acquisition Ronnie Belliard played in place of Hudson for the second consecutive game.
Hudson, 31, a switch-hitting All-Star and Gold Glove winner, has played in nearly every game since being acquired last winter.
But “over the course of the season it’s probably taken a little bit of a toll on him,” Torre said before Sunday’s game. “I think there’s some fatigue now.”
At the same time, Belliard has been a hot hitter since his arrival Aug. 30 from the Washington Nationals. He hit a two-run single Sunday and a grand slam Saturday in the Dodgers’ series with the San Francisco Giants.
Asked whether Hudson remained the starting second baseman, Torre said “he’s not starting today” and declined to comment about future games.
“I’m taking advantage right now with Ronnie swinging the bat the way he is to use him, and then decide what choices we’re going to have going forward,” Torre said.
Hudson signed with the Dodgers after he suffered a season-ending injury to his left wrist in August 2008.
Hudson’s batting average is .288, but he’s hitting .250 in 13 games in September. After Sunday’s game, Hudson said he felt fine physically but conceded “I haven’t been doing the job.”
“My man Belliard came in, they made a great trade to get him in here and he’s doing a great job at second base,” Hudson said. “All I can do is cheer for him.”
Veteran reliever George Sherrill, who was acquired by the Dodgers in late July from the last-place Baltimore Orioles, is making the most of his new surroundings.
The left-hander has been dominant since his arrival July 30. Before Sunday’s game, Sherrill had given up only one run in 23 appearances with the Dodgers for an earned-run average of 0.42.
Sherrill threw another scoreless inning Sunday against the Giants, and he’s one reason why the Dodgers’ bullpen had the lowest ERA (3.12) in the big leagues.
“I’m the kind of guy who gets mad when he doesn’t get to play and help out in some way,” Sherrill said. “I’ve been used plenty since I’ve been here and I like it. The only thing that matters is us winning, and I’m sick and tired of losing, so it’s good to be here.”
The Big Unit faces a big decision this winter.
Randy Johnson, having joined the exclusive club of 300-game winners this season, said he has not decided whether to pitch next year.
Johnson, who turned 46 this month, recently came off the 60-day disabled list and pitched in relief against the Dodgers on Saturday.
He faced three batters and gave up consecutive doubles to Rafael Furcal and Andre Ethier, the latter driving in Furcal.
Asked how he felt physically, Johnson said, “I wouldn’t say normal, I still have a torn rotator cuff,” and added that “obviously, I’m a little rusty but excited about getting back out there and pitching again.”
Johnson, playing under a one-year contract with the Giants, said that after this year he would “see how successful I am, see how I feel, see how I recover. [I] don’t even know what I’ve got left in my arm.
“I don’t want to be a reliever, I want to be a starter. I’ve got four kids at home, they’re teenagers, so you take that kind of stuff into consideration along with my health.”