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Blister on right hand is latest issue for struggling Andre Ethier

The Dodgers right fielder has been in pain since a blister on his right palm ruptured a few days ago. His bat has suffered too, as he is hitting .229 since the end of May.

August 23, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier is congratulated by Manager Don Mattingly after scoring against the Giants in the sixth inning Wednesday night.
Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier is congratulated by Manager Don Mattingly… (Jason Redmond / Associated…)

Andre Ethier opened his right hand, revealing a blister on his palm that popped three days earlier. The area of raw skin was about the size of a quarter, the exposed region large enough to cause him significant discomfort in his bottom hand when holding a bat.

The ruptured blister was the latest annoyance in what has been a rough few months for the two-time All-Star outfielder.

Ethier was batting a season-best .333 on May 30.

He had played 63 games since then entering the Dodgers' series finale against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday. In those games, he batted .229 with three home runs and 25 runs batted in.

The left-handed-hitting Ethier was batting .213 against left-handers through Tuesday.

As unsightly as his numbers might appear and as long as his slump has endured, Ethier said he doesn't think he is far from recovering his old form.

"I feel like I'm having good at-bats," he said. "I'm having tough at-bats and working deep in the count, just not quite squaring up the ball."

Manager Don Mattingly also sounded satisfied with the quality of Ethier's plate appearances. That wasn't always the case last season, when Mattingly said Ethier's inability to control his temper resulted in essentially throwing away at-bats.

"I haven't seen any give-up," Mattingly said. "Last year, I talked about throw-away at-bats with Andre. I haven't seen any. He's been fighting, and that's all we can ask."

That said, Ethier acknowledged something has to change. So did Mattingly, who said the Dodgers need for Ethier and the slumping Matt Kemp to play like their old selves.

"Andre's no different than Matt," Mattingly said. "We need him to go."

Ethier doubled in the sixth inning Wednesday, his first hit since his blister popped. The double was his 30th, making him the first player in franchise history to record six consecutive 30-double seasons.

Rotation shuffle

Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw will each make their next start a day earlier than previously scheduled, a move that could allow them to both pitch against the Giants when the Dodgers visit San Francisco early next month.

Billingsley will start the series opener against the Miami Marlins on Friday and Kershaw will pitch Saturday. Aaron Harang, originally scheduled to take the mound Friday, will pitch Sunday in the series finale.

If the Dodgers stay on rotation, Billingsley would be in line to pitch the final game of a three-game series in San Francisco on Sept. 9. If the Dodgers use their day off on Sept. 6 to skip someone in the rotation, Billingsley could pitch on Sept. 8 and Kershaw on Sept. 9.

Billingsley has won each of his last six starts and has a 1.30 earned-run average over that span.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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