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Puig sits it out; Ramirez still on track

8/23/2014

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers, already without regular shortstop Hanley Ramirez and third baseman Juan Uribe, are short another significant bat in their lineup Saturday night against the New York Mets. Fortunately, it's an expected absence. All-Star outfielder Yasiel Puig, who has only four hits -- all singles -- in his last 24 at-bats will take the night off.

"We knew before the game yesterday," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We knew he was getting beat up. I [asked] how he was doing, he said he was tired and we thought today was the right day. So give him a day today, he'll play tomorrow, and then he'll get another off day [Monday], hopefully get his legs back underneath him a little bit."

Andre Ethier, making only his third start since Aug. 6, replaces Puig in center field, and will bat fifth.

Mattingly said the changes in Puig's game weren't drastic but still fairly easy to spot.

"He just gets dragging. You don't see the same energy," Mattingly said. "More than anything, you see the lack of energy. Just little things you see on the field. Body language, and then at-bats get shorter, and you don't see the same patience."

Also granted an off night Saturday is infielder Justin Turner, who has been filling in for Uribe. While Turner has been red hot, going 7 for his last 13 including a game-winning home run Thursday against San Diego, the Dodgers have made it a point to limit his workload in an effort to preserve his health.

Miguel Rojas replaces Turner in the lineup, batting eighth.

Mattingly said Ramirez, eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, will do so barring any unexpected setbacks.

On the mound, the Dodgers start Zack Greinke after allowing the All-Star right-hander two days of extra rest to help relieve elbow soreness. Greinke threw a bullpen session Thursday without incident. Mattingly said he won't treat Greinke any differently Saturday night than he normally would, but that the team will watch him closely Sunday and through his off days.

"What we'll look for is hopefully he comes out of it. I don't think tonight is really the worry, it's really more how he bounces back. So we'll see," Mattingly said.