Dodgers meet to discuss hitting woes

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and hitting coach Mark McGwire organized a team meeting before Thursday night’s game against the Texas Rangers, emphasizing the need to have better at-bats in the midst of the team’s deepest slump of the season.

The Dodgers led the major leagues in several offensive categories well into May, but their offense has nosedived into June. The Dodgers were a season-high 12 games over .500 on May 12 and averaging 5.3 runs per game. Since then, they are four games under .500 and scoring nearly two runs fewer per game.

Mattingly said he considered trying to shake up the lineup to spark some action, but instead decided to address the players directly.

“When we were going good, we were having quality at-bats up and down the lineup. We need to continue to make the guy fight for every out,” Mattingly said. “It’s not that complicated, really, just the mentality of team baseball, getting a good pitch, making him fight for his out, don’t give him any easy ones. If he beats you, then he beats you. We’ve just got to get back to who we are and we feel like we’re a team that is going to have quality at-bats.”

The Dodgers’ offensive fortunes have closely mirrored their leading run producer’s. Adrian Gonzalez had a 1.153 OPS on May 12. Since then, he has a .600 OPS.

HEISEY OPTIONED: Because he had five years of service time, outfielder Chris Heisey could have declined an option to Triple-A Oklahoma City, but he didn’t and the team was able to send him down to accommodate adding a relief pitcher, lefty Daniel Coulombe, who was recalled before the game. After activating Scott Van Slyke and putting Chris Hatcher on the 15-day disabled list a day earlier, the Dodgers were short one reliever.