DENVER — Andre Ethier is not having the kind of year he envisioned, hitting just .240 with four homers and 15 runs batted in a third of the way through the season. That leaves him on pace for career lows in virtually every significant offensive category.
But he does lead the team in games played, having missed just two. And with Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford both dealing with strained hamstrings, he’s the only opening-day outfielder still in the lineup.
“It’s been a frustrating time from Day 1 here with some injuries,” said Ethier, his right hand heavily taped in an effort to keep him off the disabled list with the blisters that hampered him last year. “I just want to stay out there anyway I can.
“Obviously we know we have big voids with those guys going down. And it’s one where you, hopefully, can somehow figure out a way to pick up the slack.”
But while Ethier gives the Dodgers stability, he hasn’t given them much offense lately, hitting .143 over his last 10 games. And he’s homered just once since April 27.
“That’s how baseball works sometimes,” said Ethier, who has been moved all over the lineup, hitting in five spots. “You can go out there and swing the bat well and have nothing to show for it. And then there’s some where you’re getting jammed and … they’re base hits and you feel good about yourself.”
Ryu’s bruise bumps A.J. Ellis
As expected left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu was pulled from his scheduled start Sunday with a left foot bruise and replaced by Matt Magill, who was called up Saturday from triple-A Albuquerque. But to make room for Magill on their roster the Dodgers had to do something they were hoping to avoid: placing catcher A.J. Ellis on the disabled list with a left oblique strain.
Ellis is the 13th Dodger — and the second one named Ellis, after infielder Mark — to go on the DL this season. Ryu, meanwhile, is expected to make his next start this week.
And there’s more good news: Manager Don Mattingly said Hanley Ramirez, on a minor league rehab assignment with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, will return from the DL this week.
Ramirez, who sat out Sunday’s game, is expected to play for Rancho on Monday and could be back with the Dodgers on Tuesday.
The Dodgers’ struggle with injuries hasn’t only disrupted the team’s starting lineup. It’s also wreaked havoc with the bench, making starters of guys who were expected to be versatile role players.
Nick Punto, who started just 36 games last season, has already started 31 at three positions this season. And Skip Schumaker has started 23 games, playing five positions.
“We’re definitely playing short, that’s for sure,” Mattingly said. “You start getting to the point where the guys you looked at as being part-time guys, they’re kind of your everyday guys. And so that is a danger too.”