Loney understands why Dodgers traded him

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
7:10
PM PT
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- James Loney was surprised, but not shocked to hear last weekend that he and four Los Angeles Dodgers prospects had been traded to the Boston Red Sox for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford and infielder Nick Punto.

Suprised the Dodgers and Red Sox could pull off such a huge, complicated team in August, after the non-waiver trade deadline.

Surprised he wasn't going to have a chance to finish this year strong, as he had the previous one.

Surprised that the only major league franchise he'd ever played for had decided to part ways after seven years.

But no, he was not shocked the Dodgers would jump at a chance to make Gonzalez, a four-time All Star, their first baseman for the next six years.

"It's just one of those things that happens sometimes. You get opportunities to get different guys and you've got to make a decision," Loney told ESPNLosAngeles.com before the Red Sox game against the Angels Thursday.

Loney, 28, hit just .254 with four home runs and 33 RBIs this season, far off the pace of his best seasons as a Dodgers in 2008 and 2009 when he hit .289 and .281 respectively and drove in 90 RBIs.

A torrid second half last season convinced the Dodgers to tender him a contract again this season, but their patience quickly waned as his production lagged and manager Don Mattingly started using him in a platoon at first base with Juan Rivera, among others.

"Obviously over the years I've pretty much played full time," said Loney, who had played in 752 games since the start of his first full season in the majors in 2008, tied for sixth in the NL.

"I never really had a down year. I think the lowest average I ever really had in the big leagues was .267 or something. So it's one of those situations where you wanted to finish strong. It's not like I couldn't still have a good year in that league."

Asked if he felt the Dodgers gave up on him, Loney was more blunt, "They were giving me opportunities. They just wanted production and stuff like that. It was more of 'Hey, we've got other guys we want to try and mix and match.' That's what they were trying to do, they were just mixing and matching. I understand what it is. But obviously I want to play."

Including Thursday, Loney has started four of his first five games with the Red Sox. He is 4-for 13 with three RBI in those first four games.

"I've got some RBIs, I've got some hits. I'm playing so to get those things you've got to play," Loney said. "Part of it [the trade for the Red Sox] is to see what I can do this year and then we'll go from there."

As for his time with the Dodgers, Loney says he has no regrets.

"I had a great time there," he said. "I had some great years there. Some great memories."

Here's a look at tonight's lineups:

RED SOX

1. Scott Podsednik LF
2. Dustin Pedroia 2B
3. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
4. James Loney 1B
5. Cody Ross RF
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia DH
7.Ryan Lavarnway C
8. Mike Aviles SS
9. Pedro Ciriaco 3B
Jon Lester (8-10, 4.98 ERA)

ANGELS

1. Mike Trout CF
2. Torii Hunter RF
3. Albert Pujols DH
4. Mark Trumbo 1B
5. Howie Kendrick 2B
6. Erick Aybar SS
7. Maicer Izturis 3B
8. Vernon Wells LF
9. Chris Iannetta C
Zack Greinke (2-2, 5.22 ERA)

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Mike Trout
BA HR RBI R
.290 31 97 92
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Trout 31
RBIM. Trout 97
RM. Trout 92
OPSM. Trout .934
WJ. Weaver 15
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOG. Richards 164