May 12

Here’s a word for Jamey Carroll: talented


Ric Tapia/Icon SMIAt age 37, Jamey Carroll has the highest on-base percentage of any infielder in Los Angeles Dodger history (minimum 500 plate appearances).

For the past year, people have used the words “gritty” and “gamer” to describe Jamey Carroll so often that it’s become a reflex. They mean it in the best possible way, and I don’t think there’s any doubt that — although other players don’t get enough credit for these qualities — Carroll qualifies.

In any case, I can’t help thinking that the words undersell what Carroll has brought to the Dodgers. “Gritty” risks implying that Carroll’s game is all about the effort and not about the results.

Since coming to the Dodgers in 2010, Carroll has racked up a season’s worth of plate appearances, 562 in all. And over that period, he has had an on-base percentage of .377. That places Carroll 12th all-time in Los Angeles Dodger history for players with at least that many times at the plate. Among those who have played at least 100 games in the infield, he is No. 1.

And this is coming in his late 30s, when more likely than not, he should be declining. That’s just flat-out good.

The point is, I’m not sure that Carroll’s grit is all that unusual. There are hundreds of players in the majors and minors who work every bit as hard as Carroll does — and get varying results, from superstar to never seeing the majors. What’s more unique about Carroll is his talent, a combination of his effort and his ability.

When I think of Carroll and what he has meant to Los Angeles, particularly with the frequent injuries to Rafael Furcal, I’m happy for his effort, but I’m plain thankful for his talent, which has made the Dodgers a better team than they’d otherwise have been. If it weren’t for the talent, people would be all too eager to shake hands with Carroll and show him and his grit the door.

May 11

With Kuo headed for disabled list, Kuroda’s shutout pitching lifts Dodgers


Jayne Kamin-Oncea/US PresswireHong-Chih Kuo has struck out eight of the 27 batters he has faced this season, while allowing 12 baserunners.

As far as the result of tonight’s game goes – a 2-0 shutout of Pittsburgh – as long as Hiroki Kuroda is pitching shutout ball for seven innings, not even giving in when he wild-pitched the tying runs into scoring position in bottom of the sixth, the Dodgers will do just fine.  Now if Kuroda had committed the unforgivable sin of allowing two runs in his seven innings, it might have been another story …

But the bigger news of the day wasn’t the Dodgers’ doubling their win streak to two, or Andre Ethier extending his on-base streak to 35 games, or Jerry Sands’ RBI double following an intentional walk to Rod Barajas and his sub-.300 on-base percentage.

It was Hong-Chih Kuo being placed on the disabled list for the second time this season and sixth time in his career, for a period that is expected to be significantly longer than the 15-day minimum. From Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

… The official reason for the move was anxiety disorder, something that wasn’t revealed by the club until 20 minutes before Wednesday night’s game with the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, well after media access to the clubhouse and manager Don Mattingly was customarily cut off until postgame.

In announcing the move to the media earlier, Mattingly was conspicuously vague in describing what is wrong with Kuo.

“There isn’t much of the story I can really share with you today,” Mattingly said. “We’re just kind of waiting at this point for approval from Major League Baseball on the verbiage … that we want to basically talk about.” …

… Through Monday, Kuo had pitched three times in four days. For the season, he has an uncharacteristic 11.57 ERA in nine appearances and an even more uncharacteristic six walks in 4 2/3 innings, albeit with eight strikeouts. Kuo said Tuesday that he felt fine physically and that he wasn’t sure why he had been struggling so much with his command, and Mattingly said Tuesday that Kuo continued to tell team officials he felt fine physically.“When you’re talking about Kuo, he is basically always hurting,” Mattingly said Wednesday. “It’s just at what level. His elbow is always hurting. It never goes away, really. It’s just how much he can deal with. It is always there. … When I say he doesn’t complain, it means that in talking with [trainer] Stan [Conte], when he says he is good to go, that means he can deal with it. His ‘I’m OK to go’ is different than being 100 percent.

“But he isn’t good to go [now].”

Mattingly offered a definitive “no,” when asked if Kuo was retiring, but he was noncommittal on whether Kuo might pitch again anytime soon. …

Kuo’s career has always been living on a thin line, and my appreciation for how much he has contributed to the team knows few bounds. I’m betting we haven’t seen the last of him, but there’s just no telling when we’ll see him on the mound again.

Called up to replace Kuo is a man whose career hit a mighty big speed bump of its own last year, Scott Elbert. Elbert has got his strikeouts going, and will do as well as his control allows. Here’s more from Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:

… In 14 1/3 innings, Elbert has issued nine walks with 16 strikeouts. Seven of his eight earned runs allowed have come in two appearances.

He said his problems generally occurred when he was asked to pitch a second inning of relief.

“Mentally, I was prepared for one inning, which was my fault,” he said. “I should be prepared for anything.”

Elbert has had six previous Major League callups, but he said this one is different.

“I feel more relaxed,” he said. “It’s something that comes with maturity and nature, if that’s what it means to be special,” he said. “I’m not a new face to them. I’m not working to try to do too much. Let them hit it and put it in play. I’ve grown up a little bit. A lot of it is seeing my two kids and having patience with them.

“I just have to be myself and not worry what anybody else things about me. It’s part of growing up.” …

The Dodgers still might be forced to make another bullpen promotion, if Blake Hawksworth can’t make a quick recovery from his groin injury (an MRI, reports Jackson, showed nothing serious).

May 11

Dodgers hover near .500, but does a crash loom?


Gene J. Puskar/APJerry Sands and Aaron Miles during Monday’s Dodger loss.

The Dodgers produced a feel-good win Tuesday night. The hitters hit, the pitchers pitched and a good time was had by all.

If only it didn’t feel so unusual.

The victory showed what the Dodgers are capable of on a given night, but it didn’t really change how capable they look this season.

Los Angeles entered the season riding a thin line. The pitching was going to be good if not great, but the hitting was the opposite, and the depth, outside of Vicente Padilla, almost non-existent.

And so while it seems crazy on the one hand to get down a team that is only three games below .500 and 3 1/2 games out of first place in the National League West, the weaknesses remain almost overwhelming.

How do you win without a decent on-base percentage, power or relief?

The hitting was always going to be borderline at best, and this is not best. Outside of Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, the rest of the crew hits like Olive Oyl. James Loney has no power. Dodger left fielders are slugging below .300 this season with not a single home run. (Marcus Thames hit two as a pinch-hitter.)  Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles are on hot streaks, but that’s not a dependable offense.

It’s reasonable to hope Loney will get an extra-base hit again sometime in his career, but the actual growth the Dodgers were counting on just doesn’t seem to be coming.

Rafael Furcal’s going to save this team when he comes off the disabled list? Furcal can be wonderful — an All-Star last year — but I don’t think Furcal physically can be that big a difference-maker over the long haul any more. Nor is Casey Blake capable of hitting like he did at the outset of the season for any sustained period of time.

Meanwhile, if the bullpen can’t protect the starting pitchers, day after day, there’s not much hope one can offer. The pitching needs to be as reliable as the offense is unreliable. It needs to be stone-cold bulletproof. And for some reason, Hong-Chih Kuo and Jonathan Broxton have had the roof cave in on them in the same year.

But I don’t know how you make changes to that bullpen without making things elsewhere on the roster worse. Call up Rubby De La Rosa, switch him to relief and expect him to be perfect? I bet he’d be good, but I don’t think he can be that good. And he’s still only one guy.

Short of a reversal of fortune in that pen — Kuo and Broxton get healthy and effective again — I don’t think anything turns the Dodgers into a serious playoff contender at this point unless they trade prospects for a big bat. And while there are some trades I’d be willing to make, I’m not sure that the ones that aren’t flat-out depressing are realistic.

I’ve seen teams have bad seasons — I’ve seen the 2005 Dodgers, who went 71-91 — and you’re going to have to convince me this team isn’t worse. You want to bring up guys like Mike Edwards? Edwards’ 2005 OPS is higher than that of Loney, Miles, Juan Uribe and Jerry Sands/Tony Gwynn Jr.

The 2005 Dodgers were 19-12 on May 9 and had a 38-43 record until their best hitter, who happened to be their right fielder, was hit by a pitch and lost for the season. Imagine how the 2011 Dodgers would look if they lost Ethier for that long.

This year’s team is looking more like the 1992 Dodgers, who lost 99 games despite a 3.41 team ERA that was sixth in the National League, because the lineup had become so decrepit.

If it were only a matter of health, or only a matter of the bullpen, or only a matter of the offense, I’d hardly sweat the current 3 1/2-game deficit in the NL West (five games in the wild card). The Dodgers will win their share of games, enjoy their occasional night where things go right instead of going wrong. But short of a major trade (or bad mojo for their rivals), I’m just not seeing how they put together a sustained run that surpasses both Colorado and San Francisco unless the bullpen reverses itself, with its two best relievers returning to form by the second half of the season, or the offense performs above its grade. For that, all one can do is hope.

I don’t write these words lightly. It’s been nearly 20 years since I felt this pessimistic about a Dodger team in May. With each first pitch, I hope I’m proven wrong.

Dodgers at Pirates, 4:05 p.m.

May 10

Quick notes


Gene J. Puskar/APRejected superhero ideas: Helmetface
  • MLB had to rescind its appointment of Dick Freeman as a cog in its Dodger monitoration team because he had ties to Jamie McCourt, reports The Associated Press.
  • Josh Fisher of Dodger Divorce offers some context to the possibility that Frank McCourt would try to file for bankruptcy before MLB drops the other shoe on him.
  • Former Dodger Willy Aybar found no takers for his services, so he signed with Edmonton of the North American League.
May 10

Dodgers squirrel away 10-3 victory but may lose Hawksworth


The blind squirrel that is the Dodger offense found an acorn tonight – 10 of them, in fact, in a 10-3 pasting of the Pirates.

Los Angeles didn’t go nuts until the sixth inning, when singles by Jamey Carroll (3 for 4 with a walk, 10 for his past 17), Aaron Miles (3 for 5, 8 for 19) and Andre Ethier (34 games in a row on base) broke a scoreless tie before Matt Kemp’s three-run homer, his team-high seventh of the year.

Ted Lilly (six innings, five baserunners, four strikeouts) gave back two runs in the bottom of the sixth, but the Dodgers added one in the seventh and five in the eighth, including bases-loaded walks to Jerry Sands and Matt Guerrier. Every starting Dodger position player reached base twice in the game except Juan Uribe (1 for 4), as the Dodgers hit double-digits in runs for the second time this season.

Lance Cormier, entering the game once the Dodgers took an eight-run lead, mopped up with reasonable janitorial effectiveness, allowing a solo home run and a double in two innings.

Oh, did I neglect to mention the latest injury? Blake Hawksworth lasted three batters before leaving with a strained right groin. He’ll have an MRI in the morning, and though he hopes to avoid it, a trip to the disabled list seems likely, rather than the Dodger bullpen operating one man short. Squirrels can be so frustrating.

May 10

Hey Andre, you still have a streak going

The 30-game hitting streak ended Saturday for Andre Ethier, but the on-base streak didn’t. It’s alive at 33 games. Here again is the Dodger top 10:

Longest consecutive-game streaks for a Dodger reaching base:

58 Duke Snider, 1954
53 Shawn Green, 2000
47 Ron Cey, 1975
44 Len Koenecke, 1934
44 Zack Wheat, 1919
43 Augie Galan, 1945
41 Eric Karros, 1994
40 Babe Herman, 1926
39 Steve Sax, 1986
39 Billy Grabarkewitz, 1970
39 Duke Snider, 1953
39 Jim Gilliam, 1953

May 09

Here a crack, there a crack, everywhere the roof cracks


Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesJuan Uribe rages against the dying of the light.

You’ll find good accounts of the Dodgers’ 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh tonight elsewhere, including Tony Jackson at ESPNLosAngeles.com and Mike Petriello at Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness. They speak to what appears to be an unmistakable truth.

So much has to go right for the Dodgers to win a single game, and so much went wrong.

Maybe they can afford to have a big call go against them.

Maybe they can afford to have Chad Billingsley walk the leadoff batter in the eighth inning, even after he’s pitched seven innings of one-run ball.

Maybe they can afford to fly into a double play, maybe even two.

Maybe they can afford Hong-Chih Kuo giving up searing doubles to left-handed batters.

Maybe they can afford to go 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.

But they sure can’t afford to have all of those things happen.

May 09

Ned Colletti has not repeated Bradley-for-Ethier magic

The trade of Milton Bradley (and Antonio Perez) for Andre Ethier has often been cited as a great, maybe even the greatest, achievement by Ned Colletti as a Dodger general manager. What was impressive about the yield is that everyone knew that Colletti was under orders from up top (with the support of much of the Dodger fanbase, it should be said) to unload Bradley, after the outfielder reached the point of no return in his tumultuous two years with the Dodgers. It was the kind of trade that could easily have netted a prospect that would never sniff the majors.

The news comes up again because Bradley, who has generated a .649 OPS and lots of angst in his two seasons with Seattle, has been designated for assignment by the Mariners, possibly signaling the end of his major-league career.

My purpose is not to talk about Bradley, who has been discussed here at great length, but just point out how rare it has been that Colletti has ever tried to repeat the method of this trade — exchanging a veteran in his 20s, at or near his peak value, for prospects that could contribute down the road. (Bradley was 27 and coming off a .835 OPS season when Colletti traded him for Ethier in December 2005.)

Looking quickly at the Dodgers’ transaction logs on Baseball-Reference.com, I can’t find one similar deal in the Colletti era. The closest might be the trade of Juan Pierre for John Ely and Jon Link before the 2010 season, but Pierre was already 32 and into his decline phase when the trade occurred. If you want to make a case to include this, I won’t stop you, but I’m not sure it qualifies.

It might come as no surprise that a team that regularly contends for the playoffs, like the Dodgers have under Colletti, has arguably not made a single boffo trade for a highly regarded prospect — even one who could have as much near-term impact as Ethier, who was in the majors months after the trade. But it’s interesting. We used to wonder whether Colletti would use any of the Dodgers’ exciting young players to get a proven veteran — will he ever again use a proven veteran to get any exciting young players? It did work for him before.

* * *

Bud Selig spoke to ESPN 1050 AM radio in New York about the Dodgers today:

… Selig was asked why he approved the deal that sold the Dodgers to McCourt in 2004 in the first place. Ironically, Fox had held controlling interest of the club beforehand.

“I’ll tell you what happened. There’s a lot of history here, which a lot of people don’t seem to understand,” Selig said. “There were two other bidders. Fox was anxious to get rid of the team. They were all really anxious. I’ll tell you what happened. There were a couple of groups: A group led by Dave Checketts and another group. And for whatever reason, they weren’t around at the end, so Fox sold the club to the McCourts and presented them to us. So this idea that we ought to examine ourselves, there was nobody else. We have a long relationship with Fox. There were no other bidders.” …

Selig said that MLB has added former Pittsburgh Pirates COO Richard Freeman to its team monitoring the Dodgers.

* * *

Dodger minor-leaguer Dee Gordon can be seen scoring from first base with Roadrunner speed on a sacrifice bunt and an error, in this video posted by Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness. Albuquerque Isotopes play-by-play man Robert Portnoy has the call.

* * *

From the In Case You Missed It file: the torpedoes have been damned, and back-to-back outings for Hong-Chih Kuo have been approved. Hope for the best …

May 09

Now that his streak is over, how can Ethier be even better?

Kathy Willens/APThe Dodgers are 4-0 when Andre Ethier homers.

Rebooting after the end of his 30-game hitting streak, Andre Ethier went 2 for 4 Sunday, including a big, breathing-room two-run homer in the seventh inning, the likes of which the Dodgers seem to have rarely seen this season, especially of late. (Los Angeles is averaging 2.7 runs over its past 12 games, and 3.1 runs per game this season in the 32 games that haven’t been played in Wrigley Field.)

Over the past 24 hours, I’ve seen speculation that the end of the hitting streak will make Ethier a more productive hitter, on the theory that he won’t afraid to swing for the fences and give the Dodgers the power they desperately need. (Ethier’s home run was his fourth of the season in 34 games.) I don’t want to dismiss the theory out of hand, but it strikes me as a bit hard to believe. Let’s just say that if Ethier becomes even more productive, that’ll be something.

During the streak, Ethier had a .462 on-base percentage and .560 slugging percentage (1.022 OPS). Those 30 games were not cheap ones and shouldn’t be dismissed. If he can do better than that, more power to him (figuratively and literally).

May 09

Kershaw leaves us breathless …


Kathy Willens/APHold on to your hats!

If you didn’t see Sunday’s 4-2 Dodger victory over the Mets, you missed Clayton Kershaw’s lump-in-your-throat slide into second base on a passed ball by Ronny Paulino in the third inning. He roared into the bag like a kid hitting the bottom of the slide at Raging Waters.

The play ended up being pivotal toward the Dodgers’ first run, but the best part about it was that Kershaw got up.

Kershaw was a bit of a wild ride on the mound as well, walking two of the first three men he faced and delivering only one perfect inning out of seven, but he was effective at keeping the Mets from converting their opportunities. He ended up allowing one run on six hits and three walks over 6 2/3 innings while striking out eight, lowering his season ERA to 3.12. For the game, New York went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

May 07

Ethier’s streak ends at 30 as late-inning tie turns into Dodger loss


Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesAndre Ethier reacts after the third of his four outs tonight in New York.

On September 3, 1969, the Dodgers and Mets were tied heading into the ninth inning with a Dodger outfielder hitless in his bid to extend his hitting streak to 31 games.

It looked like the same thing might happen tonight … but the Dodgers and Andre Ethier came up short.

New York broke a tie with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, and Ethier watched Los Angeles go quietly in the ninth after going 0 for 4 with a walk, and so the only streak of note extended this night was the Dodgers’ losing streak to four with a 4-2 defeat.

Ethier, who struck out against lefty reliever Tim Byrdak in his final at-bat with a runner on first in the eighth inning, needed eight batters to come up in the ninth inning once the Mets broke the 2-2 tie.

After pitching a shutout seventh inning, Dodger reliever Mike MacDougal walked leadoff batter Jason Bay in the bottom of the eighth and was replaced by Hong-Chih Kuo. Ike Davis popped out, but then Kuo threw everything into chaos by throwing away a sacrifice bunt by Jason Pridie, leaving the game with two runners on and one out. (Aaron Miles backed up Kuo’s throw to prevent further damage at the time.) The third reliever of the inning, Matt Guerrier, walked Ronny Paulino to load the bases.

Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesMatt Kemp comes up short in on Justin Turner’s fly in the bottom of the eighth.

On a 1-0 pitch, pinch-hitter Justin Turner hit a deep fly to center that was catchable but certain to score one run. As it happened, the ball went off Kemp’s glove as he went back on the ball, giving the Mets a two-run cushion. Jose Reyes lined into a double play, but the damage to Ethier’s hopes had been done.

There were four extra-inning games in Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, but according to a September 1975 issue of Baseball Digest, he didn’t need extra innings to extend his streak. He had two hits in two of those four games. Like DiMaggio, Pete Rose played in extra innings during his 44-game hitting streak but did not need overtime to keep streak going.

Ethier got five chances tonight because the Dodgers were so adept at putting runners on base – but unfortunately, weren’t so skilled at driving them home.

The Dodgers left the bases loaded in the first, second and seventh innings. They were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position Friday, and you know, that happens. But it’s unfortunate to follow it by going 1 for 13 the next night. The Dodgers stranded 14 runners in tonight’s game.

Ethier walked after swinging at the first two pitches of emergency starter Dillon Gee in the first inning, flied out with the bases loaded to end the second inning, flied out leading off the fifth and grounded out against left-handed reliever Mike O’Connor to end the sixth.

Reyes’ RBI single capped a two-run second inning off Jon Garland (six innings, 10 baserunners, three strikeouts). After the first pitch to the next batter, David Murphy, on TV you could see Dioner Navarro quickly nod in first baseman James Loney’s direction.  Following the next pitch, Navarro nonchalantly tossed the ball to Loney, picking off Reyes, who didn’t see it coming until it was far too late.

Two innings later, Navarro popped a home run down the right-field line to give the Dodgers their first tally, and in the sixth, Miles followed Jamey Carroll’s single and Garland’s sacrifice with an RBI single to tie the game.

That’s the way it stayed for a couple more innings, at a time when it looked like Ethier might have all night to tie the 3-Dog. It was not to be, but my goodness, congratulations to Ethier for making it that far.

But now, what will distract us from how poorly things are going for the Dodgers?

May 07

Broxton too cool for truth

I’ve been reading several stories about Jonathan Broxton being placed on the disabled list, most recently Dylan Hernandez’s piece in the Times this morning, and I’ve come to these conclusions:

1) We’re a long way from knowing when Broxton was hurt and when he wasn’t.
2) Broxton’s word on his condition is worth its weight in … what’s the opposite of gold?
3) Stan Conte, Dr. Neil ElAttrache, Rick Honeycutt and Don Mattingly are going to have to be very proactive in monitoring his condition going forward (as if we didn’t know that already).

Writes Hernandez: “Asked whether he would be more open with the medical staff in the future, Broxton replied, ‘No.’ ”

I don’t really care what Broxton says to the press, but he has to be truthful to his own organization. The big guy’s finding the way to lose my support …

  • Andre Ethier really seems to be handling the pressure of his 30-game hitting streak well, especially considering the Dodgers’ losing ways. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has a good story. As for him knowing as much about Zack Wheat on Thursday as he did about John Ely a year ago … chapter 58.
  • In his past eight plate appearances, Albuquerque outfielder Trayvon Robinson is 7 for 7 with a walk, a double, a triple and two home runs.
  • Slowed by a calf injury in the early going, John Lindsey is trying to get untracked at Albuquerque, writes Christopher Jackson at Albuquerque Baseball Examiner.
  • Which 2010-11 free agents have performed the best so far? Mike Akisa of MLB Trade Rumors answers the question for pitchers and hitters. Believe it or not, there’s a case for Rod Barajas being in the top 10.
  • Farewell, Seve and farewell, Sada.
May 06

Ethier rushes to 30, but Dodgers tackled in end zone


Frank Franklin II/APJerry Sands can’t reach Jose Reyes’ second triple, leaving Matt Kemp to retrieve.

The number 30 will always belong to Lawrence McCutcheon as far as I’m concerned, but tonight it will be shared with Andre Ethier, who extended his hitting streak with his very first swing tonight against the Mets.

Frank Franklin II/APHiroki Kuroda reacts to David Pridie’s home run.

If only we could stop there … but instead, there’s the matter of Hiroki Kuroda thrice being unable to hold a one-run lead, ultimately giving up a three-run homer to Jason Pridie in the bottom of the sixth inning of the Dodgers’ 6-3 defeat.

From the start, it was a high-wire act for Kuroda, who gave up a leadoff triple to Jose Reyes. Kuroda, known as a groundball pitcher, had only two groundouts in the first three innings, while surrendering the triple and then a sacrifice fly in the first inning and a home run by Ike Davis in the second inning. He settled down mid-start and looked like he might cruise, surviving Reyes’ second triple of the night beyond a diving Jerry Sands and taking a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth.

Then the Mets suddenly lowered the boom: one-out double by Carlos Beltran, two-out intentional walk to Davis and 27-year-old rookie Pridie’s shot to right.

After a double by Josh Thole, the Mets’ sixth extra-base hit, Kuroda was lifted. New York tacked on an insurance run off Blake Hawksworth in the seventh inning, while the Dodgers didn’t get a runner past second base for the remainder of the game.

Ethier notched three hits for the fifth time this season – but the Dodgers are 2-3 in those games. Rod Barajas homered and singled, but struck out to end the Dodgers’ last good threat, a two-on, two-out situation in the seventh inning.

The Dodgers fall to 15-18, fourth place in the National League West, with San Diego two games back and leading 2-0 in the third inning against Arizona.

* * *

Ethier became the 45th player in major-league history to record a single-season hitting streak of at least 30 games and can tie Willie Davis’ Dodger hitting streak record Saturday. Ethier talked to Tony Jackson’s of ESPNLosAngeles.com about his sore elbow … and was more diplomatic than I would have been in response to critical comments from former Dodger coach Larry Bowa.

… “An inflamed elbow, if that’s what it is, I’m one of those guys that you’ve got to play through that, especially if you play in the outfield,” Bowa said on SiriusXM Radio Thursday. “If you were an infielder, you’d have to throw with that arm, and that’s another thing. But how many plays does an outfielder get? To me, unless it was really, really bad, I’m going to play him.”

Ethier had started every game this season until being scratched from the lineup about a half-hour before game time after taking a few swings in the indoor batting cage. He was available to pinch hit, but was never called upon to do so. After the game, Ethier said the problem bothered him more throwing than hitting.

Bowa, who added that he was “shocked” Ethier wasn’t in the lineup, said Ethier should have played not because of the hitting streak but because the Dodgers are struggling and he is one of the hottest and most dangerous hitters. He said he was hurting the team by sitting.

“That is his job, to put stuff out on that show that he’s on,” Ethier said of Bowa’s comments. “I’m not big on commenting on other people’s comments. … I have buddies at home saying the same stuff. I got text messages the other day saying, ‘What’s going on, why aren’t you playing,’ guys giving me a hard time.”