Andre Ethier is back in the Dodgers’ starting lineup tonight, playing center field and batting seventh, for the first time since Sept. 18.
“I just wanted to see how things responded last night,” said Ethier. “I didn’t wake up feeling sore.”
Ethier has been running bases and shagging fly balls in center field for the better part of the last week. His performance in yesterday’s team workout at Busch Stadium, and the health of his left ankle today, counted for a lot.
“A lot of things we’ve seen yesterday we really liked,” Mattingly said. “At first it wasn’t as good as I would have liked but as the day went on, he got better and better out there in center. He goes, does a lot of things, making turns. So it feels like at least he’s back today. We don’t know how he responds after a game of Major League Baseball, not just a workout.”
Ethier was 0-for-3 with a walk in four pinch-hitting appearances in the National League Division Series against the Braves. He’ll swap spots on the bench with Skip Schumaker, who was 3 for 13 (.231) with two RBIs and three walks in the series.
“Worst-case scenario, (Ethier) would be back to a pinch hitter or something possibly tomorrow, then another day off,” Mattingly said. “But the best-case scenario is obviously that he’s going to be able to bounce back and tomorrow he’ll be fine.”
The Cardinals will use the same lineup they used in Games 3, 4 and 5 in the National League Division Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.