Tuesday, May 3, 2011

James Loney tries new hitting incentive

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman James Loney, who was out of the starting lineup against an opposing left-handed pitcher for the second time in the past four days on Monday night because of his .125 average this season against southpaws, now has a new reason to try to hit more opposite-field line drives than fly balls.

Manager Don Mattingly said that starting with Monday night's game against the Chicago Cubs, when Loney wasn't slated to start against left-hander James Russell, he will fine Loney $1 each time he flies out to left.

"And then he said he wants to take a dollar back every time he hits a line drive to left,'' said Mattingly, who went along with that request. "I want him to keep the ball low to left field. This will give him a chance to keep working on it.''

Mattingly said he will be the judge on any of those arcing balls that are difficult to categorize as a line drive or fly ball.

The left-handed-hitting Loney said the key to hitting more liners to left will be making sure he squares the ball -- as opposed to getting under it -- something that is tougher to do hitting balls on the outer half the opposite way.


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