Solution to Dodgers' outfielder surplus discovered: Use one as a DH

Solution to Dodgers' outfielder surplus discovered: Use one as a DH
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp stretches before Wednesday's game against the Angels. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Too many star outfielders? For a few brief games, no problem. Actually, it's a very good thing.

The Dodgers opened a mini two-game series in Anaheim on Wednesday, which means using the designated hitter.


Which meant Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig arrived to Angel Stadium to find all their names in the lineup. If only …

Ethier is back in right field and Kemp the DH against right-hander Matt Shoemaker. The days of using some utility infielder are currently a memory.

“I think we’re a better equipped for it than we were in the past,” said Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly. “A couple years ago we came here to DH and it was like, `Really? It doesn’t really help us much.’

"But now we're a little more equipped. We're more that type of club where it helps to put another bat in the lineup."

Previous designated hitters for the Dodgers in the past five years included Ivan DeJesus, Jerry Hairston Jr., Mark Loretta, and Trent Oeltjen.

Mattingly elected to play both left-handed outfielders, Ethier and Crawford, against Shoemaker.

"These guys don't have a lefty out of the pen so it allows us to kind of get Andre and Carl in there," Mattingly said. "We wanted to get as much offense as we could in the game today."

Kemp has started the last 15 games in right field, batting .375 with five home runs and 14 RBIs.

"It gives me a chance to give Matt a day off his feet, but keep him in the lineup," Mattingly said. "With the way he's been swinging the bat, we'd like to make sure to be able to keep him fresh. That's kind of the determination today, to give Matt a little breather."

Mattingly said he was uncertain who he would DH on Thursday in Anaheim. It is, however, the last chance for the Dodgers to benefit from their surplus of outfielders, as it's their final interleague game of the season.