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Jerry Sands Makes Major League Debut with Dodgers Tonight

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“He’s like a Holliday,” Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly said.

Of course the Holliday he’s referring to is the St. Louis Cardinals’ Matt Holliday. The subject of the quote is Jerry Sands, the left fielder the Dodgers called up from Triple-A Albuquerque. Great job of keeping the pressure off the kid before his first Major League appearance Donnie.

To be fair, that was me being the evil soul sucking media taking quotes out of context. We do suck the fluids out of aborted fetuses for sustenance after all.

“I compare him, and it’s probably not a fair comparison, but he’s like a Holliday,” Mattingly really said. “You see that big body, he’s wide shouldered but runs pretty good. He’s got power, he’s got a good approach.

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“Obviously you don’t want to put a Matt Holliday tag on him, but body-wise and actions and athleticism he’s a lot like that.”

Sands captured the hearts and imaginations of the Dodger fans who paid attention to spring training. Sands hit .313 with an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of .999 in 22 games played. And the Dodgers’ 2010 Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year in ten games with Albuquerque batted .400 with a 1.297 OPS and five homers.

All this from a guy this time last year was playing for Class-A Great Lakes Loons.

“It’s been definitely fast,” Sands said of his ascent. But he wasn’t completely surprised by his velocity.

“Coming out of college I knew what I could do,” he explained. And what he can do is hopefully hit better than the .250 average and ten strikeouts that Dodgers leftfielders have shown so far this season.

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“We just want him to be himself,” Mattingly hedged. “We haven’t been able to generate offense consistently. He’s a guy who showed us last year he can play. He’s a guy that we trust.”

The decision to bring Sands up wasn’t a spontaneous decision.

“I’ve been thinking about it the last day or two,” general manager Ned Colletti said. “I decided yesterday morning that we were going to do it.

“We’ve struggled offensively. It’s time to give him an opportunity. I told him that we’re not expecting him to carry the club. This may be a temporary assignment. But it’s time to get his feet wet and see what he can do.”

Sands will play every day because, as Mattingly said, “you don’t bring him up and not play him.”

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The 23-year old Sands, who lives in Clayton, NC recently purchased a house out there which was unscathed by the recent storms in the area. He has a fiancée, and accountant Morgan Pace, and plans to get married next year. And because minor league salaries for 25th round draft picks aren’t the best, he is a substitute teacher in the last two offseasons.

“Definitely the extra money,” Sands said. “Everything helps. I’m getting married this offseason. Just having a little bit of stability.

“If you want to take the lady friend out on a date, you have to have a little bit of money.”

Outfielder Xavier Paul was designated for assignment and will go on the waiver wires to make room for Sands on the 25-man and 40-man rosters.