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Dodgers’ brightest-prospect spotlight now shines past Jerry Sands

One day you’re bursting with potential, the next you’re what?

Jerry Sands was supposed to be the Dodgers’ next great position player, a big outfielder who earned the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year award in 2010.

He was called up earlier than expected in April last season, struggled (.200, .294 and .328 on-base and slugging percentages) and by June was sent back down. He showed more promise during a call-up in September (.342, .415, .493), though by then he had been surpassed by Dee Gordon as the top position prospect.

And now he’s slipped ever further, down to at least the third top outfielder prospect.

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The Dodgers called up Scott Van Slyke, who like Sands can play the outfield and first, before Sands last month. The Dodgers sent Sands back to the minors when Matt Kemp came off the disabled list, but when Kemp returned to the DL Thursday they did not call Sands back up but outfielder/infielder Alex Castellanos.

Castellanos was recovering from his own hamstring injury earlier, or he would have the first outfielder called up.

“I don’t really make that call,” said manager Don Mattingly. “If he hadn’t been down with his own hamstring, he would have been first one we called up.”

All three were at triple-A Albuquerque. Castellanos was hitting .379/.476/.759, Van Slyke .336/.411/.623 and Sands .259/.352/.382.

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It’s hardly that the Dodgers have given up on the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Sands, but neither has he seized his early opportunity. In his most recent, if limited, call-up he again hit .200 (4 for 20).

Last year Van Slyke was the organizational Minor League Player of the Year. Castellanos was the player acquired from St. Louis at the trading deadline for Rafael Furcal.

This season, Sands is slipping. It’s scarcely a slump he can’t recover from, but the momentum has shifted to others.

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