Dodgers-Marlins Preview

After a tough loss in their last game, the Los Angeles Dodgers

are giving some early rest to some of their best players in their

next contest.

Manny Ramirez and Russell Martin will get the day off and Andre

Ethier won’t start Sunday when the Dodgers close a three-game

series against the Florida Marlins.

Los Angeles (2-3) failed to win a third straight Saturday,

losing 7-6 after the Marlins scored three times in the ninth. Jorge

Cantu hit a sacrifice fly off George Sherrill to cap the rally.

Sherrill came in to close instead of Jonathan Broxton, who was

unavailable after pitching in back-to-back games.

“You need 27 outs,” manager Joe Torre said. “We couldn’t get

them.”

Ramirez was 1 for 4, driving in a run during a three-run third

and recording his 2,500th career hit. He’s batting .316 with four

RBIs, but Torre said he and Martin, who is hitting .364, will both

get the day off Sunday. Ethier, held out of the starting lineup

Saturday because of a sore ankle, hit a two-run, pinch-hit single

in the eighth to put the Dodgers ahead, but will not start

Sunday.

The absence of some of Los Angeles’ top hitters may give the

Marlins (3-2) a chance to win their second straight series after

they took two of three against the Mets. Pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino

had a two-run double to tie the game in the ninth as Florida

overcome another shaky performance from its pitching staff which

allowed six or more runs for the fourth time this season.

The bullpen has a 5.82 ERA with two blown saves in four

chances.

The Dodgers will hand the ball to Charlie Haeger, who was named

to an opening-day roster for the first time in his career.

The knuckleballer, who also has played for the White Sox and San

Diego, is 2-3 with a 5.26 ERA in 25 appearances over four seasons,

including four starts. He pitched in six games with the Dodgers

last season – three as a starter – going 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA.

“His versatility is a plus,” Torre said of Haeger, who hasn’t

faced the Marlins. “We’ll give him a shot.”

Because Martin will be unavailable to start Sunday, Los Angeles

recalled A.J. Ellis from Triple-A Albuquerque to catch for Haeger.

Backup Brad Ausmus was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the

first time in his career with a pinched nerve in his back.

The Marlins will counter with Anibal Sanchez, who went 1-3 with

a 6.38 ERA in six spring starts, but was satisfied that he finished

healthy after being limited to 16 starts in 2009 because of

shoulder problems.

Sanchez went 4-8 with a 3.87 ERA last season.

“This is awesome,” Sanchez told the Marlins’ official Web site.

“From my first start of spring training, I said this is the first

time I’ve felt like I did a long time ago. When I go to bed at

night, I say, ‘Thank you God for that.’ Now I’m forgetting about

everything before. I’m forgetting about ’06, ’07, ’08 and ’09. I’m

starting over. It’s a new season. New everything.”

The right-hander is 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA in two starts against

the Dodgers, but hasn’t faced them since 2006.