Andre Ethier, with no hits in his last 14 at-bats and one hit in his last 24 at-bats, was given the day off today by manager Joe Torre. Torre noted that Ethier, who was an All-Star, has essentially had no time off recently, and that Ethier was simply struggling and frustrated of late. “He’s lost all his patience at the plate,” Torre said, but noted that Ethier has been working with coach Jeff Pentland in the batting cage everyday and that he is getting close to where he was before he went on the disabled list in May.
The club is currently carrying 13 pitchers, and when asked if someone might be called off from Triple A, Torre noted that nobody really stands out. He specifically mentioned Jay Gibbons and John Lindsey, although both have issues working against them. Lindsey, a right-handed hitter, can’t play the outfield, which limits his versatility. Gibbons was noted as the favorite if anyone were to get called up, as “all year he has been on fire,” near Torre. But, with limited 40-man roster space and three lefty outfielders already on the roster, Torre said it was a difficult balancing act.
Reed Johnson isn’t close to coming back from the disabled list. The club will want him to go on a rehabilitation assignment before activating him, but his back hasn’t improved to the point where any kind of timetable has been put in place.
The fifth starter spot, occupied today by Carlos Monasterios, is sitting there waiting for someone to seize it, Torre said. Torre said the club would like John Ely to emerge, but that he needs a few starts in Triple A before any decision would be made on him. When told that Ely was scratched last night after being struck by a ball in batting practice, Torre joked, “It’s pretty tough to hit him since he doesn’t stand still.”
Monasterios is on a pitch count today of 80-90 pitches. James McDonald is the designated long reliever should one be needed, although as Torre noted, “we have a lot of long men in the bullpen.” Everyone in the bullpen is available to pitch today if needed. Jonathan Broxton, who was in what Torre termed “a weakened condition” last night but available to close, is feeling much better today.
Aside from great pitching, the coolest thing about Hong-Chih Kuo is that whenever anyone with the team or any reporters talk about him, they almost invariably light up. Everyone roots for him, given as many surgeries he has endured and his effusive personality. His dry sense of humor was on display last week, as Torre recounted a tale that Kuo called his All-Star Game throwing error simply “a curve that didn’t break.”