Friday, June 28, 2013
End of the line for Ethier?
By Jason A. Churchill
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford is nearing a rehab assignment, reports MLB.com, with the speedster testing his hamstring by running curves at the club's spring training facility in Arizona. Once he's ready for activation, the Dodgers will have some choices to make.
Andre Ethier is now the left fielder with rookie Yasiel Puig claiming right field. Matt Kemp is back from the disabled list and handling center, as usual. Crawford is a left fielder by trade and figures to reclaim his job once he's healthy. That could leave Ethier as the odd-man out.
Of course, skipper Don Mattingly could work with four outfielders, giving them rest and using them off the bench on their off days. Ethier, a lefty hitter, is batting just .256/.334/.380 for the season and has been dominated by left-handed starters. Crawford is also a left-handed hitter, however, so there's no chance to put together a traditional platoon scenario.
Since it seems insane to think the club will take Puig out of the lineup for more than the occasional day to rest and Kemp is the lone true option in center -- other than Puig -- there really don't appear to be too many options for the team. Ethier and Crawford either share left field, or the one that is hitting plays and the other is used as a reserve.
It's also conceivable that Ethier is shopped around the league, but his contract and lack of performance make that a tough task for GM Ned Colletti. Ethier is owed $70 million guaranteed after the 2013 season.