LOS ANGELES -- With the Dodgers in a funk lately -- going 2-4 in their past six games -- and players continuing to return from injuries, manager Don Mattingly has reworked his lineup toward the top.
James Loney, who has primarily hit in the sixth spot this season, is making his 17th career start batting second and his first of the 2012 season. The first baseman has a .333 average with a .395 on-base percentage hitting second.
"I always talk about groupings and I think with this lineup, that's where he fits best and it gives me flexibility down in the order if I have to do some things because James isn't really a guy you pinch-hit for," Mattingly said.
Mattingly will trot out Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Bobby Abreu in the 3-4-5 spots.
Loney will be replacing recent No. 2 hitter, Elian Herrera, who is moving up to the leadoff position with Tony Gwynn hitting the bench.
Herrera, who hit leadoff in the Dominican Leagues, went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI on May 23 against Arizona, his only time hitting first in the Majors before Wednesday.
"With Dee [Gordon] kind of scuffling and Mark [Ellis] out, it's taken those first two spots and it's different guys all the time," Mattingly said. "We lost our continuity at the beginning."