Dodgers Promote Oeltjen, Send Sands Down Under

Jerry Sands had a good run.

Jerry Sands has been in a 3-for-35 slump since hitting his grand slam on May 24 in Houston, dropping his season numbers to .200/.294/.328. Today, the Dodgers optioned Sands to Triple A Albuquerque and purchased the contract of Trent Oeltjen from the Isotopes. Oeltjen was 5-for-23 with four walks last season (.217/.357/.348) with the Dodgers, and was hitting .339/.429/.583 in 56 games with Albuquerque this year. Oeltjen gives the Dodgers a bench option who can play all three outfield positions.

Sands started 33 of 47 games since his call-up on April 18, and appeared in eight more games off the bench. The only Dodgers to start more games during Sands' first tenure with the big club were Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, James Loney, and Jamey Carroll. Dodgers' left fielders this season are hitting a robust .216/.282/.314, with two home runs and 16 RBI through 63 games.

This signals more playing time, at least in the immediate future, for Tony Gwynn Jr., who is in tonight's lineup playing the spacious left field at Coors Field. It also means that on days Loney sits against left-handers, Jamey Carroll will be the beneficiary rather than Sands, with Blake moving from third to first base.

The Dodgers offense has been up and down of late, mostly fluctuating between one or zero runs and six or more runs for the better part of two weeks. Luckily, they get to go to Colorado for four games beginning tonight. Perhaps these hitters can end their June swoon:

Clayton Kershaw gets the start for the Dodgers, looking for some of the offense that has scored 19 runs in his last two starts. Kershaw has a 5.44 ERA in eight career starts in Coors Field, but the bulk of those runs were given up in his first three starts in Colorado. Kershaw has allowed three runs or less in each of his last five starts at Coors Field, with a collective 3.38 ERA. The Dodgers have won three of those five starts, though they lost earlier this season.

Rookie Juan Nicasio makes his third start for the Rockies. The 24-year old has allowed just four runs (three earned) in 13 innings so far in his big league career. Since the start of the 2009 season, through low A, high A, and Double A, Nicasio averaged 1.66 walks and 9.08 strikeouts per nine innings. He hasn't quite done that yet in the majors, with three walks and five strikeouts, but his 94.0 mph fastball (average through two starts) suggest future improvement in that regard. Fangraphs also shows Nicasio to throw a slider and changeup, at least so far.

Lineups

Dodgers Rockies
SS Gordon CF Gonzalez
3B Blake 2B Nelson
RF Ethier 1B Helton
CF Kemp SS Tulowitzki
2B Uribe 3B Wigginton
1B Loney RF Spilborghs
C Navarro LF Blackmon
LF Gwynn
C Morales
P Kershaw
P Nicasio

*****

Both Kenley Jansen (5:05 p.m. in Mississippi, listen here) and Hong-Chih Kuo (7:05 p.m. in Rancho Cucamonga, listen here) will pitch on rehab assignments tonight.

*****

Game Time: 5:40 p.m.

TV: Prime Ticket

MLB Gameday

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