PHOENIX (CBS) – Dodgers manager Don Mattingly talked to the media for the first time this Spring Training and announced Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day.
His most intriguing comments came when talking about 1B/OF Jerry Sands’ role with the team. ” Jerry was really good against lefties last year, but we’ve got to be able to get him x number of at-bats. I hate the thought of saying that we’ll platoon guys, but the numbers say (James) Loney and (Andre) Ethier weren’t good against lefties. We’ll mix and match.”
Ethier will be a free agent after the season, avoided arbitration with the Dodgers last month by agreeing to a one-year, $10.95 million contract.
On Ethier’s health:
“Sounds really good. I talked to Sue yesterday and Andre feels good about where he’s at. I want everybody to have the best season they’re capable of. He’s had some health issues and people make small changes when they’re hurt, and that hurt his productivity. We just want him to stay focused and not get frustrated. He gives us the biggest potential for that 1-2 punch in the middle of that lineup. He can be that guy, but we need him to be himself.”