MILWAUKEE -- Teams usually want left-handed pitchers who are tough to hit, but the Dodgers spent Spring Training looking for one who is easy to hit. They finally found one, which means that Wes McCollum has the coolest part-time gig of any 24-year-old from Brea, Calif.
A month ago, McCollum was giving private baseball lessons to amateurs at Lifeletics in Huntington Beach, but he also was throwing batting practice to Dodgers backup catcher Matt Treanor, who recommended McCollum when the Dodgers were struggling to find a left-handed batting-practice pitcher.
McCollum had a late Spring Training audition -- first in Minor League camp, a day later throwing to Major League pitchers and a day after that to Major League hitters. By the end of camp, he had been offered a job to travel with the Major League club, stay at the Major League hotel and receive Major League meal money.
Not bad for a playing career that peaked at Missouri Valley College.
"It's still sort of surreal," said McCollum, who still works at Lifeletics when the club is home, as longtime left-handed BP pitcher Pete Bonfils handles duties at Dodger Stadium. "It's hard to put into words, especially when I explain it to friends and family."
McCollum said that before his first trip, to San Diego, "I was skeptical and apprehensive. I didn't know what to expect."
"I just listen a lot," he said. "I'm spending a lot of time throwing in the batting cage and listening to [hitting coach] Dave Hansen and learning how to act around a big league club. So far, I haven't hit anybody with a pitch. My friends say whatever I do, don't hit [Matt] Kemp or [Andre] Ethier."
Uribe day to day with inflamed left wrist
MILWAUKEE -- Third baseman Juan Uribe missed Thursday's game against the Brewers with a mildly inflamed left wrist and is considered day to day.
Uribe was examined by the Brewers' team doctor on Thursday and will not see a specialist in Houston, as was considered.
Uribe injured the wrist sliding into home plate on Sunday against the Padres, He sustained similar injuries playing in San Francisco that usually sidelined him only a "couple" of games. He will try to take batting practice on Friday.
Uribe did not start on Wednesday night, either, but manager Don Mattingly said that was because of pitching matchups.
"They said he can play defense, but not bat," said Mattingly on Thursday. "I had him in there today. I didn't hear about this until during the [Wednesday] game. They told me he can't swing. I was caught by surprise last night."
Uribe is hitting .235 with one double and one RBI in 34 at-bats. In the second year of a three-year, $21 million deal, last year he hit .204 with a .293 slugging percentage and missed the final two months after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia.
Jerry Hairston Jr. started at third base on Thursday and was a defensive star, with two key late-inning plays.
Mattingly wants replay for calls at home plate
MILWAUKEE -- Manager Don Mattingly didn't need to see the replay of Wednesday night's game-ending play at the plate to decide that baseball needs instant replay for calls at home, especially game-ending ones.
"Actually, my son Preston told me three weeks ago, and it started with [Andre] Ethier getting called out in San Diego when he was actually safe," said Mattingly. "Preston said if they look at replays for a home run, they should replay plays at the plate, and he's right. They should. Those plays always cost a run, which can cost a game. You can't say it cost us a game, but it cost us an opportunity to win a game."
The play in question saw Nyjer Morgan scoring the deciding run in the 10th inning of Milwaukee's 3-2 win. Plate umpire Mike DiMuro ruled Morgan safe, although replays seemed to show A.J. Ellis' hand blocking Morgan's lead foot in front of the plate while he applied a swipe tag to Morgan's backside after taking the throw from Matt Kemp.
Had Morgan been called out, the game would have gone into the 11th inning.
"That's a tough call," said Mattingly. "Any time the ball is coming and [the runner] is coming and the catcher is trying to block the plate and catch the ball and it's all happening at once, that's tough even with replay. You see a few replays and, I don't know, then they finally got it to that point, and he's out. With replay in the NFL and the NBA, that's one of those plays that can really change a game."
Familiar Dodgers faces on All-Star ballot
MILWAUKEE -- This year's National League All-Star ballot includes the Dodgers' regular starting lineup, featuring 2011 All-Stars Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
The online ballot launches on Friday. Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or using a mobile device -- using the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, June 28, at 8:59 p.m. PT.
Juan Rivera is the third Dodgers outfielder on the ballot. Catcher A.J. Ellis and shortstop Dee Gordon appear for the first time.
The other infielders on the ballot are first baseman James Loney, second baseman Mark Ellis and third baseman Juan Uribe.
The Dodgers have never had two outfielders voted onto the All-Star starting lineup in the same season. Kemp started last year's game, and Ethier was added to the roster as a replacement for the injured Shane Victorino. Ethier was a starter in 2010.
The Dodgers haven't had an outfielder voted onto the starting lineup in two consecutive seasons since Jimmy Wynn in 1974-75. Kemp could become the Dodgers' first back-to-back All-Star starter since Mike Piazza in 1994-97.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.