Dodgers' Ethier could pinch hit in playoffs
SEP 29, 2013 12:46p ET
Although Ethier is still working out in Arizona and won't rejoin the team until Tuesday for its workout at Dodger Stadium, manager Don Mattingly indicated the final decision might involve Ethier's ability to pinch hit.
"It depends on what we're willing to do," Mattingly said Sunday. "Are we willing to just say Dre's going to be a pinch-hitter? Are we willing to say that's going to be enough for us? It depends on what we're willing to live with how we'll be able to use him."
Ethier has had just one at-bat since Sept. 13 after hurting his left ankle running the bases against the San Francisco Giants. He was expected to return to the lineup last week but was scratched when he had difficulty running in a pregame workout at San Francisco.
The Dodgers don't have to submit their 25-man playoff roster until Thursday morning, the day they play Game 1 of the NL Division Series, but they're expected to make a decision regarding Ethier on Tuesday.
If they keep him on the roster as a pinch-hitter, they would need a pinch-runner if he gets on base. That would essentially burn two players with one move.
Asked if he were leaning toward letting Ethier rest for the first round, Mattingly said, "I would rather lean toward letting him play, but it's really going to be seeing what he can do, and that's going to help us make a decision. It's more based on what he can do and not do."
Either way, the Dodgers don't expect Ethier to be 100 percent this week.
"He's making progress," Mattingly said. "I don't know if we can look at anything that's going on with Dre as all of a sudden he's going to be healed and ready to go. I think it's a process of him getting a little better all the time, making progress. We'll see a lot more on Tuesday at the workout and make some decisions at that point."
Matt Kemp, also bothered by a sore ankle, was expected to sit out Sunday's regular-season finale against the Colorado Rockies. But Mattingly said he's feeling positive about the center fielder's availability for the postseason.
"I'm never certain about stuff like this," he said, "but I feel good about it. If he's not ready, we'll play ( Skip) Schumaker and go from there."
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