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Now try this: Shrinking Andre Ethier sits against lefty

August 24, 2011 | 11:04 am

Andre-ethier_600

All-Star Andre Ethier was not happy, and I’m guessing neither were the TV broadcasters who picked up his response after he was called out on strikes Tuesday in his first at-bat. Strangely, after his first expletive, the nearby microphone and sound on the telecast immediately fell momentarily silent.

These days, I’m pretty sure you should keep a mike far away from Ethier on the field. Always intense anyway, he is scuffling through a horrendous slump that is only growing more severe.

There may not be any microphone issues with Ethier in Wednesday’s afternoon game in St. Louis, the sore-toed Ethier is getting benched against left-hander Jaime Garcia.

Ethier has three hits (singles) in his last 41 at-bats (.073) without an RBI. This continues a downward cycle. Since the all-star break, he’s hit .220 with a home run and seven RBIs in 127 at-bats.

Yeah, not exactly a happy camper these days.

On the season, Ethier is hitting .223 against left-handers with a .571 (on-base, plus slugging percentage), which continues a trend. In 2010 he was .233 and .629, and in 2009 it was .194 and .629.

Manager Don Mattingly tried moving him out of the three spot in the lineup for the first time this season in St. Louis. In two games, he went 0 for 7 with two walks. Now for the fourth time this season, he’s trying sitting him against a left-hander.

“For me it’s just a day,'' Mattingly said. "It’s just a left-handed thing. Obviously leaving him in last night, I knew I wasn’t going to play him today, so he was able to stay in and play throughout the game.

“With the lefty today and a day off tomorrow, it gives him a couple of days. He doesn’t seem to be fighting himself too bad lately I just want to try to keep giving him some time.”

Ethier had the nail removed on the infected area on his right, big toe Friday. That can’t be fun.

But neither can going 3 for 41 with zero RBI and watching a batting average that was more than .300 most of the season fall to .286. For now, best keep those in-game microphones clear.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier follows through on a swing after the bat flew out of his hands against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on Sunday. Credit: Andrew Carpenean / US Presswire

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