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Mattingly holds Andre Ethier out of the lineup again, in part because of hitting slump

May 25, 2011 |  1:10 pm

Llioahnc Andre Ethier was out of the Dodgers’ lineup for a third consecutive game, and there was more to the back story than a collision with a chain-link fence.

Manager Don Mattingly said he held Ethier out against the Houston Astros on Wednesday in part because his right fielder was slumping at the plate.

Since his 30-game hitting streak ended May 7, Ethier is hitting .179 with only one extra-base hit in 56 at-bats.

“It’s pretty easy to argue that Andre hasn’t been swinging it that good over the last 10 days,” Mattingly said of Ethier, who was still hitting .311 overall.

Jay Gibbons replaced Ethier in right field. Ethier pinch hit in the seventh and was intentionally walked.

“You want to play the guys that are going good,” Mattingly said before the game. “Gibby, right now, he’s been hitting the ball hard. He’s been dangerous for the most part, so I’m just going to ride him a little bit.”

Mattingly said he also wanted Ethier, who injured his left elbow, lower back and left big toe when he crashed into the outfield fence at U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday, to be at full strength when he returns.

“I can’t get guys that are being martyrs for me and going 70%,” Mattingly said. “When we get him back out there, I need him to go 100%. That’s really what I’m trying to do.”

Ethier will have had four consecutive days without a start by the time the Dodgers open a three-game series against Florida on Friday at Dodger Stadium.

-- Ben Bolch

Photo: Andre Ethier. Credit: Nam Huh / AP

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