Andre Ethier likely to start vs. LHP Francisco Liriano Friday

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ethier has started just two of 12 games against left-handed starters so far in 2014.

LOS ANGELES -- There won't likely be a platoon in center field for the Dodgers, at least not Friday night. Manager Don Mattingly said on Thursday that Andre Ethier will likely remain in center field against Pirates starter Francisco Liriano in the second game of the weekend series.

"I think Dre will be in center," Mattingly said before Thursday's series opener.

Ethier took over in center field on May 24 in Philadelphia after Matt Kemp was benched for poor defensive play. Kemp was held out of the starting lineup for five straight days before starting in left field on Wednesday, his first start in left field in eight seasons.

Thursday marks Ethier's seventh straight start in center field, a position he has started 21 games this season and 70 more in 2013.

But Friday would mark a departure from what had become standard operating procedure for the Dodgers this season.

Since Kemp's return from the disabled list on April 4, Mattingly has used an all-right-handed outfield in 10 of the 11 games against left-handed starting pitchers, and in the other game Scott Van Slyke wasn't available to start in the outfield since he was starting at first base.

Ethier is 4-for-22 (.182) with a double and three walks against left-handed pitchers this season, and in his career has hit just .234/.293/.348 in 1,297 plate appearances against southpaws. Ethier has not had an OPS against left-handers above .629 since 2008, when it was .692.

Ethier has never faced Liriano.

Mattingly did not say who would start in left field on Friday against Liriano. Kemp is 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against the left-hander, and though a .332/.394/.552 career hitter against southpaws is hitting just .154/.170/.212 (8-for-52) against left-handed pitchers this season.

Van Slyke is hitting .314/.442/.800 with five doubles, four home runs and eight walks against lefties this season, all team-high marks. He has never faced Liriano.

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