Ethier gets start in right field over slumping Puig

Ethier gets start in right field over slumping Puig

PHOENIX -- Slumping Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was benched for Saturday night's game against the D-backs, although manager Don Mattingly said he expected Puig back in the lineup Sunday.

"He gets more frustrated as he goes along and I just don't want him to get there," Mattingly said of Puig, who is 2-for-17 with six strikeouts. "Some days it's just good to watch one. Like anybody, else, he's searching for the feel. It could change on any at-bat. It could be one pitch, he hits the ball hard and he's back on track."

Andre Ethier started in right field Saturday night in Puig's place. Mattingly said Ethier would start Sunday in left field in place of Carl Crawford.

Puig this year is carrying a heavier load as the lineup's primary right-handed run producer with the departure of Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez. Mattingly said if Puig had "thrown up three or four hits" Friday night and gotten some momentum, he might have left him in the lineup.

"But watching that game, I felt it was the right day," Mattingly said of Puig, who singled in his last at-bat Friday night to go 1-for-5 with two strikeouts.

Mattingly said it wasn't a case of Puig -- with hot-hitting Adrian Gonzalez behind him in the order -- being pitched to differently. He said anybody swinging at bad pitches will not get hits.

"I don't care who you are. I'm not really concerned. I planned this a few days back. It was going to happen no matter what."

Mattingly said he will continue to look for opportunities to use Ethier and utilityman Justin Turner, who also started Saturday night at third base to give Juan Uribe the night off before Sunday's day game.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.