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07/09/08 9:10 PM ET
Slumping Matthews sits, in agreement
Skipper says sore left knee could be inhibiting slugger's bat
By Shawn Shroyer / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Angels outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. was out of the lineup for Wednesday's game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Manager Mike Scioscia talked to Matthews and said the decision to sit Matthews was based on a mutual agreement between the two that Matthews hasn't been playing up to his potential at the plate lately. Juan Rivera was in the lineup in Matthews' place. "I talked to Gary a little bit today," Scioscia said. "We're going to give Juan some looks. We think it's good to give Gary a blow. We need some production, and Juan is swinging the bat well." Scioscia said a sore left knee might be affecting Matthews' performance. "Gary's said himself he's not where he needs to be," Scioscia said. "He's said his left knee is kind of bothering him, which may be bothering his left-handed swing." Matthews had started eight of the Angels' last nine games, and hit .179 during that span with just one RBI. Rivera, meanwhile, started three games during the Angels' last homestand and was 2-for-9 with two home runs. Before that, he went 2-for-4 in his June 29 start at the Dodgers. Rivera's only at-bat in the Texas series came Tuesday night with two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth inning. He hit the ball hard, but it was directly to second baseman Ian Kinsler. Scioscia didn't say for sure whether or not Rivera would see more consistent playing time in Matthews' place before the All-Star break, but it didn't sound as if one day off would be enough to get Matthews back on track. "I don't think we have to commit to future lineups," Scioscia said. "The issue that's just as big is getting Gary back in his game and grinding it out just isn't doing it. There are times to grind it out and see if a guy's going to get on track and there's times to get off the treadmill. We're at that point now with Gary. We're not getting Gary to where he should be."
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.