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Mattingly gives Cruz day off after difficult start to season

LOS ANGELES -- Luis Cruz was out of the Dodgers lineup Sunday for the first time this season as manager Don Mattingly hopes a day off will do some good for the hitless third baseman.

Cruz is 0-for-17 in five starts to open the year. He said he's been "jumpy" at the plate, but understands there is plenty of time to turn things around.

"It's early still. We still have a lot of games. I think I'm going to be fine," Cruz said. "I feel good, strong, I just need to get my timing down."

Juan Uribe made the start at third base in Sunday's series finale against the Pirates, and Mattingly said he believes Cruz simply needs to be a spectator for one game.

"There's always going to be a period of the season when you hit one of these spells. Luis is just having it right now right out of the gate, and then that kind of builds on you," Mattingly said before the game. "It kind of wears on you. Mentally, he needs to be able to put that behind him because you can't change anything that's happened in the first five games of the season. He needs a day to sit there and watch."

Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for
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