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Dodgers hire former Brewers manager Ron Roenicke as third base coach

Dodgers hire former Brewers manager Ron Roenicke as third base coach
Ron Roenicke manages the Milwaukee Brewers during spring in 2011. (Morry Gash / Associated Press)

With only 44 games remaining in the regular season, the Dodgers have hired former Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke to replace Lorenzo Bundy as their third base coach.

The change was made leading up to a critical three-city, eight-game trip that starts Tuesday with a visit to the Oakland Athletics.

While Bundy appears to be taking the blame for the Dodgers' shortcomings on the basepaths, he will remain on Manager Don Mattingly's coaching staff. Bundy is expected to assist bench coach Tim Wallach with in-game decisions and continue to oversee the outfield defense.

With Bundy moving to the bench, assistant hitting coach John Valentin will no longer be in uniform for games.

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Roenicke, 58, is the first major league coach hired by Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' first-year president of baseball operations.

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Roenicke is under contract only for the remainder the season. Regardless, his presence could raise questions about Mattingly's future, particularly if the Dodgers fail to reach the playoffs or make another early-round exit.

The Dodgers did not play Monday and Friedman could not be reached for comment.

Roenicke was fired by the Brewers on May 3 after a 7-18 start. He became the manager of the Brewers in 2011 and led them to the playoffs that season. He compiled a 342-331 record as their manager.

Roenicke was the third base coach for the Angels when they won the World Series in 2002. He later became their bench coach.

Roenicke's coaching career started with the Dodgers, as he was on their major league staff in 1992 and 1993. He was also a manager in the Dodgers farm system.

A Southern California native, Roenicke played at UCLA and was selected by the Dodgers in the first round of the 1977 draft. Roenicke was a major league outfielder for eight seasons, including three with the Dodgers.

In his latest role, Roenicke will be called on to improve the Dodgers' baserunning, which ranks near the bottom of the league in some advanced metrics.

The Dodgers have a three-game lead over the second-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West. If the Dodgers are unable to hold that lead, they could be hard-pressed to earn a playoff wild-card berth. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs, the second- and third-place teams in the NL Central, both have better records than the Dodgers.

The Dodgers will open a three-game home series against the Giants on Aug. 31.

The Dodgers have two more scheduled days off between now and then, which will provide them with opportunities to line up Clayton Kershaw to Zack Greinke to pitch in that series. The Dodgers are 29-17 in games started by Kershaw or Greinke and 38-34 in games started by anyone else.

Kershaw is scheduled to start Tuesday in Oakland.

After the two-game set at O.co Coliseum, the Dodgers will play three-game series in Houston and Cincinnati, which will both be preceded by a day off.

The Dodgers will host the Cubs when they return to Dodger Stadium.

The coming weeks could be considerably tougher for the Giants, who are currently visiting the St. Louis Cardinals, who have the best record in baseball.

The Giants will next visit Pittsburgh, and then they will host the Cubs and Cardinals.

Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez admitted he frequently looks at the out-of-town scoreboard during games, but said he does that to pass time between pitches, not necessarily to see how the Giants are doing.

"We win games, we're in the playoffs," he said. "We put ourselves in that position. It's about us."

Gonzalez figures that if the Dodgers can average six wins over every 10-game stretch, they should reach the postseason.

"Really easy to do with the talent we have," he said.

Up next

Clayton Kershaw (10-6, 2.39 ERA) will face Felix Doubront (1-1, 4.59) and the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at O.co Coliseum. TV: SportsNet LA; Radio: 570, 1020.

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

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