Though manager Don Mattingly isn’t exactly hoping this becomes a trend, it might be too late. Van Slyke has started three of the last five games in center field over Andre Ethier, and four of the last eight. Typically the starter against a left-handed opponent, Van Slyke is starting for the second straight night against a righty.
“In general Dre just seems like he doesn’t have the same energy. He hasn’t felt good body-wise,” Mattingly said. “There’s lots of little things. One thing usually is the building block to another and to compensate, you’ve got another issue. It’s really just trying to get that stuff kind of resolved.”
As for shortstop Hanley Ramirez, he’s started only one of the last five games at shortstop because of inflammation in the A/C joint in his right shoulder. He’s only played one complete game at shortstop since June 16 — he was the Dodgers’ designated hitter once in Kansas City and twice in Detroit in the meantime.
Rookie Miguel Rojas is starting at shortstop for the fourth time in the last five games.
“Hanley got a (cortisone) shot after the game last night,” Mattingly said. “As the game went on he got more and more sore. Stan (Conte) decided to give him a shot. He felt like it really kind of relieved everything right away.
“He had one in Cincinnati that didn’t really do it. It didn’t hit the spot. This one seemed to hit it. Pretty encouraged by that. We’ll see if it’s a day or two, see if we can be able to use him or not as the game goes on.”
Ethier sounds like the more likely of the two players to make an appearance late in tonight’s game.
“We’ll try not to use him,” Mattingly said of Ramirez, “and I’m not sure if he’s going to be available but we’ll see as the game goes on.”