|ESPN.com: BlogsColumns||[Print without images]|
|Casey Blake is congratulated by Blake DeWitt after hitting a solo home run in the eighth inning.|
"I talked to my wife a little bit about it," he said. "I was pretty cool, actually. It helped that we kept winning. It was frustrating for me. It's always frustrating. But I have already gone down the path where I sit up in bed at night and just brood over it and drive myself crazy and lose a lot of sleep over my lack of success. I tried that route. But hopefully, you get a little smarter with age. I just tried to stay confident and patient and know things are going to turn around and I'm going to come out of this thing." Actually, the first sign that it might be starting to come around had come in Blake's first at-bat Monday. It wasn't especially pretty, but it was exactly the kind of hit that a slumping player sometimes needs just to build off. Against Houston's Wandy Rodriguez, Blake lunged awkwardly at a pitch that appeared to be about six inches off the outside corner and punched it just inside first base past a diving Lance Berkman and up the right-field line for a two-out, two-run double that gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead they would never relinquish. "That was a peach right there," Blake said after Tuesday's game. "I'll take it, though. Over the last couple of weeks, I have squared some balls up that have gotten caught. I'm not saying I deserve anything, but it all evens out. I'll take a hundred of those hits." There is a T-shirt that has been popping up around the ballpark lately -- Blake said Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp actually has one -- that reads, In Beard We Trust. Well, the beard is back. And if Blake can continue to build off what he has done over the past two games, the trust will quickly follow.
Don't be surprised if veteran infielder Alfredo Amezaga finds his way onto the Dodgers' roster within the next few weeks. Amezaga, whom the Dodgers signed to a minor league contract Feb. 2 knowing that he wouldn't be fully recovered from microfracture surgery on his left knee until late spring, played in his first game in 366 days on Monday night when he went 2-for-2 with a walk in three plate appearances for Double-A Chattanooga. Amezaga was held out of the lineup Tuesday night at Mobile because of inclement weather that led to multiple delays and eventually to the game being called after six innings. Amezaga, 32, spent the past four seasons with the Florida Marlins, but he missed most of last year with the knee problem. His contract with the Dodgers contains two escape clauses if he isn't in the majors, the first of which he can exercise June 15 and the second of which triggers a month later. Given the time, effort and resources the Dodgers have put into his rehab, they aren't likely to let him get away. The versatile Amezaga has played every position in his career except pitcher and catcher. He will receive a prorated share of a $650,000 base salary for any time he spends on the active, major league roster, and his contract also contains several incentives based on plate appearances and games played.