Not unexpectedly, Jerry Sands is struggling at the plate for Dodgers

The chants of "Jer-ry! Jer-ry!" were back at Dodger Stadium on Thursday afternoon, but this time Jerry Sands wasn't able to deliver.

Twice the rookie left fielder came to bat with runners on second base, and twice the 23-year-old was unable to get a hit.

Dodgers fans were instantly infatuated when Sands, called up from triple-A Albuquerque earlier than many expected because of the team's struggling offense, doubled in his first major league appearance Monday against the Atlanta Braves and then recorded his first run batted in with a sacrifice fly.

He's cooled off since then, and is two for 14 (.143).

But Manager Don Mattingly said he wasn't concerned.

"The reason that we were willing to go for this thing quickly was that we knew his mentality and the toughness of the kid, that he would not take that and drop his head and run.

"He's going to keep his head up, make adjustments and keep getting better," Mattingly said.

Mattingly didn't start Sands on Thursday, saying he "wanted to give Jerry a day to breathe more than anything else. He flew in, played, a lot of stuff's going on for him."

Sands entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and struck out. He stayed in the game, in left field, and struck out again in the ninth inning when Jamey Carroll, the potential tying run, was at second base.

And in the 11th inning, Sands grounded out when Ivan De Jesus Jr., the potential winning run, was at second base.

"This is my first time up here, obviously I expect to struggle a little bit," Sands said. "Pitchers adjust. It's the big leagues for a reason. You can't get down. You've got to take it in stride."

Offensive alert

Juan Uribe has started showing signs of life at the plate.

With his solo home run Thursday, the second baseman has hit safely in his last five games, batting eight for 19 over that span. That's lifted his overall average to .221.

"He's having some good swings," Mattingly said. "His timing looks good and he looks like he's getting comfortable."

Casey Blake, meanwhile, was three for six Thursday and the third baseman's home run in the seventh inning off reliever Scott Linebrink was Blake's first of the season.

No excuse

Mattingly reiterated that Commissioner Bud Selig's decision to take control of the Dodgers' operations should not affect his team's play.

"We just ask them not to make excuses in any situation," Mattingly said of his players. "We have the ball in our hands, we've got bats in our hands, we've got the gloves."

Short hops

The Dodgers sent reliever Ramon Troncoso to triple-A Albuquerque in anticipation of bringing right-handed pitcher Vicente Padilla off the disabled list Friday. … The team claimed a walk-up crowd of more than 4,000 for Thursday's game, which featured half-priced food and soft drinks, the largest walk-up figure for a midweek day game "in decades." . . . Thursday's game marked a club-record 900th consecutive game without a rainout at Dodger Stadium. The last washout at Chavez Ravine was April 17, 2000.

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