Dodgers infielder Aaron Miles heats up offensively
One exception to the Dodgers’ weak offense of late is Aaron Miles.
The veteran utility infielder went three for four Sunday with three singles, giving him 13 hits in his last eight games. The switch-hitter’s batting average in that span has jumped to .292 from .247.
The 34-year-old Miles, who made the club as a non-roster invitee in spring training after playing for the St. Louis Cardinals last year, got a slow start this season but has picked up steam.
“I felt when I was hanging around .240, .230, that I was still swinging [the bat] well, I just was hitting the ball at people [and] didn’t get some to fall,” Mile said.
“Now I feel good and when I hit the ball it’s not going at people,” he said. “My timing feels good and I’m seeing the ball good.”
With Juan Uribe struggling at the plate, Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly on Sunday chose to start veteran Juan Castro at third base. Castro was called up from triple-A Albuquerque on Friday.
Uribe has been hitless in his last 10 at-bats and overall is batting .200 (25 for 125).
“He’s been scuffling, he hasn’t been going great,” Mattingly said. “Juan [Uribe] kind of needed a day. We went to get him out of there and give him a breather.”
Uribe, 32, did pinch-hit for Castro, and walked, in the seventh inning of Sunday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, then took over at third base for the rest of the game. Uribe walked again in the ninth inning.
Before Sunday, Uribe had only two hits in 31 at-bats since being hit on the hand by a 91-mph fastball from the Chicago Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano on May 4.
But Mattingly said Uribe “hasn’t complained of his hand. I really don’t think the hand is an issue.”
The Dodgers hope third baseman Casey Blake will be ready to start playing in rehabilitation games perhaps as early as Friday, when the Dodgers start a five-game trip.
“We’d be happy if he was able to go play [minor-league] games while we’re on the road,” Mattingly said.
Blake, recovering from surgery for a staph infection on his left elbow, has been taking batting practice and fielding ground balls in recent days.
“We’ll keep doing that a couple more days and we’ll see when we can get him out” for rehab games, Mattingly said.
Shortstop Rafael Furcal, recovering from a broken left thumb, began playing rehab games with triple-A Albuquerque over the weekend.
Mattingly said the Dodgers hope to have both Furcal and Blake back in the lineup when they open their next homestand May 27.
Starting pitcher Chad Billingsley is trying hard to persuade opposing teams that he’s not an easy out.
Billingsley has doubled in each of his last two starts, and overall has four hits in 15 plate appearances for a .267 average.
“If it’s a matter of getting a hit or getting a bunt down, by doing that you’re getting your job done,” the right-hander said. “Maybe you get one or two games a year where you can change the outcome.”
The Dodgers open a two-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium on Monday night, then host the San Francisco Giants for two games.
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