Phoenix – The Dodgers shake up of their starting line up Saturday was partially intended to get Andre Ethier and Justin Turner some at bats.
But it’s hard to ignore the guys sent to the bench just happen to be mired in slumps to start the season. Turner was at third base in place of Juan Uribe, who is hitting just .231 with a .286 on-base percentage and a .231 slugging percentage.
Meanwhile, Ethier was in right field replacing Yasiel Puig, who is hitting .083 with a .211 on-base percentage and a .176 slugging percentage.
Uribe has 3 hits in 13 at bats without a extra-base hit or RBI and Puig has just 2 hits in 17 at-bats with a double and one RBI.
It’s early, but those kinds of numbers usually gets you a day off to get your head cleared, although Dodgers manager Don Mattingly insisted the move was as much about getting other guys involved as it was giving Puig and Uribe a chance to collect themselves.
“Just really working (Turner) in and working Andre in. Been planning it for a couple days,” Mattingly said. “(Uribe) knew before the (Friday’s) game, I kind of waited on Yasiel. I kinda thought it was him but, if he had thrown up three or four (hits) yesterday, got his momentum going in the other direction I probably would have waited.
“But just watching him yesterday I felt it was the right day to get him a breather. And with the day game tomorrow we wanted to make sure we had the right guys out there tomorrow.”
Puig did manage a hard-hit line-drive single in Friday’s game, but it wasn’t enough to keep him in the lineup on Saturday.
If nothing else, Mattingly doesn’t want Puig’s struggles getting the best of him early in the season.
“He’s just getting more frustrated it seems like, as it goes along. I just don’t want him to get there, honestly,” Mattingly said. “It’s like anybody else that’s searching for that feel right now. And that changes on any at bat. That’s why I’m glad he got a hit yesterday.”
Mattingly doesn’t sound worried Puig will eventually break out.
“He’s getting some pitches to hit. He’s fouled some balls back. He’s had some good swings he hasn’t gotten a hit on too.,” Mattingly said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with the pitching it’s more like how he’s feeling. When he gets going it’s not gonna matter.
“I just think getting the feel. ‘m not really worried about patience. Once Yasiel starts getting that feel then he’ll be on a roll.”