Ausmus keeps word, returns to lineup

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Brad Ausmus started behind the plate in Saturday's game against the New York Mets at Dodger Stadium, his second start of the season and his first since April 8.

He had an RBI single as the Dodgers beat the Mets 3-2 in 13 innings.

Ausmus, 41, was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday after fully recovering from back surgery. At the time Ausmus was sidelined in April, club officials weren't completely convinced he would be able to return at all, even though Ausmus vowed at the time that he would be back.

It was a convenient time to get Ausmus back into action, not only because manager Joe Torre wanted to rest regular catcher Russell Martin in a day game after a night game but also because the experienced Ausmus, a 17-year veteran, could lend a calming presence with rookie Carlos Monasterios scheduled to make his first start in more than a month.

"That can't hurt having his experience back there," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said before the game. "I would think it has to be sort of comforting as a pitcher to have him back there. He thinks like a pitcher."

Ethier rests

Torre also rested slumping right fielder Andre Ethier, whose overall average had plummeted 90 points to .302 since he returned from the disabled list on May 31 after breaking a small bone in his right little finger. While he didn't start, Ethier entered as a pinch hitter in the 10th inning and then stayed on defensively. He went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

Ethier entered Saturday hitting .240 since coming back, and he had just two extra-base hits in his past 14 games through Friday. He also was robbed of a hit on Friday night when Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran made a spectacular catch.

Xavier Paul played right field in place of Ethier, with Garret Anderson starting in left.

Minor notes

Brian Cavazos-Galvez, the Dodgers' 12th-round pick in last year's draft as a senior out of the University of New Mexico and the son of former Dodgers pitcher Balvino Galvez, entered Saturday having hit safely in 21 consecutive games for low Class A Great Lakes, a Loons franchise record. Cavazos-Galvez, 24, is batting .419 (36 for 86) during the streak to raise his overall average to .292. He has hit eight homers and driven in 49 RBI.

Cavazos-Galvez, who was in minor league camp, appeared in two Cactus League games for the Dodgers this spring. He came to the plate just once, hitting a home run off Clay Rapada of the Texas Rangers in the eighth inning on April 14 at Camelback Ranch.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com