Yesterday, I wondered why in the world Andre Ethier would be sitting against a righty, and pondered a reality in which he would then be back in the lineup against a lefty. Now, with lefty Colorado rookie Tyler Matzek on the mound, that’s exactly what’s happened. Ethier is in the lineup. Now, that’s a bit too harsh of course, because Scott Van Slyke is also in the lineup, taking over for Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Not that I mind Gonzalez getting a day, of course, because since May 1, he’s been hitting just .210/.298/.331. It’s not like he’s irreplaceable. It’s just that any situation where Ethier has to face lefty pitching seems like a bad one.
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Also bad: Justin Turner is out again, sitting for the fourth day in a row thanks to his calf strain, and let me stop for a second and acknowledge that we’re living in a world where Turner being unavailable seriously is bad news. But it is, partially because he’s been playing so well, and partially because with Juan Uribe and Chone Figgins also hurt, Don Mattingly is down to his fourth-string third baseman in Miguel Rojas, or even fifth-string if you really like Jamie Romak. So once again, Mattingly may not have many options should this game be tight in the late innings. The curse of the 12-man pitching staff strikes again.
We also have pitching health news, one good and one… decidedly less good. Let’s start with the happy stuff: Scott Elbert, who hasn’t pitched in a big league game since August 26, 2012 (!) after undergoing three elbow surgeries in nine months, is going to start a rehab assignment with the rookie-level Odgen Raptors on Wednesday. I have no idea what we we could or should expect, but it’s good news nonetheless.
Unfortunately, the news isn’t so good on Chad Billingsley, who will undergo surgery next week to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. No, he didn’t blow out the same Tommy John ligament again, but this will end his season and potentially his Dodger career, since the team holds a $3m buyout of a $14m 2015 option. He’s expected to be ready by spring training, but what team he’s with at that point is an open question, and it will have been nearly two years since his last big league game. Either way, this is very sad news for a pitcher who never got the respect he deserved from Dodger fans. I hope it works out for him, no matter what uniform he’s wearing.
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