MIAMI -- Manager Joe Torre said he won't start Andre Ethier until Tuesday's home opener, although only after fighting the temptation to start him Saturday night because of his past success against Marlins starter Josh Johnson.
Ethier missed his third game with a sprained left ankle suffered in Pittsburgh. But before filling out the lineup, Torre watched Ethier in agility drills, running the bases and batting in the cage. When the lineup was finally posted 20 minutes before batting practice, it had Garret Anderson starting in right field.
"He's close," Torre said about Ethier. "He may be a player off the bench tonight as a pinch-hitter. I won't start him tomorrow. With the off-day Monday, it's just too tempting not to use him."
Ethier said the ankle was a little stiff rounding first base, but he was more concerned with how it would react to the demands of running down balls and changing direction in the outfield, which he tried for the first time since the injury during batting practice Saturday night and seemed to handle without much trouble.
Ethier did indeed come off the bench in Saturday's 7-6 loss, delivering a go-ahead pinch-hit single in the eighth inning before giving way to a pinch-runner.
Torre said he will stick to his plan of resting Manny Ramirez on Sunday, but with Ethier out of the lineup, hedged on whether he would also give third baseman Casey Blake the day off, as he previously indicated he would. Blake had Thursday off and Monday is a scheduled day off.
"I'll wait until [Saturday night's] game is over to decide," Torre said.