Johnson talks injuries, Harper, Dodgers trade

PHILADELPHIA - Davey Johnson said last night that he planned to give Ian Desmond the weekend off to let him deal with his strained right hamstring before hopefully having him back against the Marlins on Tuesday.

The same likely goes for Michael Morse, who is dealing with some tenderness in his right hand after getting hit by a pitch last night.

If Morse doesn’t play tomorrow, he’d have a chance to capitalize on three straight days off, including Monday’s off-day.

“I don’t see any chance in hurrying anybody back and take a chance at re-injuring something,” Johnson said. “We’re in a holding pattern.

“It’s going to be up to Michael, but he got hit pretty good.”

With Desmond out, Steve Lombardozzi will again play second base with Danny Espinosa moving over to short. Johnson opted to put Lombardozzi in the leadoff spot again today with Jayson Werth hitting fifth, which he feels gives Adam LaRoche more protection in the order.

Johnson admitted that he’s given some thought to resting Bryce Harper some against left-handed starters, but that won’t happen with Morse out. Both Harper and Tyler Moore will likely start tomorrow against Phillies lefty Cliff Lee.

After starting his big league career on fire against lefties, Harper has really struggled against southpaws the last couple months. He’s been fed a heavy dose of offspeed stuff away, and unlike earlier this season, he hasn’t been nearly as patient lately. As Johnson put it, Harper’s been “his own worst enemy.”

“But that’s just part of maturing as a hitter,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to make adjustments at this level on how they’re attacking you. It’s like an open book. Sometimes they’re too stubborn to read the book that’s out there on him. But eventually they get it, and he’s been a pretty quick study.

“I’ve seen him get a little more patient. He’s hitting about .250 and he feels like he probably should hit .400. Ergo, instead of trying to be a good hitter and hit line drives everywhere, which he did more so when he first came up here, he’s trying to juice the ball a little more. And that’s normal with his ability. But again, what happens is, a lot (is) written about how talented he is, and when you struggle a bit and are not making adjustments, you try to keep living up by doing great things instead of just being a good hitter.

“I think Chipper (Jones) said it best: A lot of young players come into the league and they think if they occasionally hit a home run, then that’s better than just being a good hitter and hitting a couple live drive singles. That’s really the approach you have to take. Be a good hitter. Guys like Rafael Palmeiro came up being good line drive hitters, and then eventually, the power came. The majority of young hitters want to hit the ball out of the ballpark first and then become a good hitter later. Danny Espinosa’s another one. He’s now trying to be more of a good hitter than hit it out of the ballpark.”

Finally, Johnson was asked about the blockbuster trade finalized today which will send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto from the Red Sox to the Dodgers. It’s a deal which will certainly make the NL playoff chance more interesting and should create quite a battle in the NL West.

“Well, I think it’ll help the Dodgers, not help Boston,” Johnson said. “But obviously their general manager wants to go into rebuilding mode, and I understand that too. I’m surprised that it (went) down, I didn’t think it would fly. But it’s a good move for the Dodgers.”

Johnson said he thought all the money involved in the deal might cause it to fall through, and was also surprised that the Dodgers chose to take on so many big contracts and ship out some of their top minor league prospects.

“Developing the minor league system is really the key to being constantly successful.” Johnson said. “But philosophies change. I think I think they’re going all-in to try and catch the Giants.”

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