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Alex Guerrero gets rare start in finale with Giants

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers try to salvage one weekend game against the Giants on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium, and will do so with Alex Guerrero starting in left field.

It is just the second start in 11 games for Guerrero, and his first start in the field since June 9.

"We're hoping for him to do his thing," said manager Don Mattingly.

Guerrero has done his thing so far this season, hitting .282/.311/.597, and despite just 132 plate appearances in 69 team games ranks third on the Dodgers in both home runs (10) and RBI (29).

With the return of Yasiel Puig and Scott Van Slyke from the disabled list, the opportunities for Guerrero in left field have dried up, and the club prefers the switch-hitting Alberto Callaspo defensively more than Guerrero to back up Justin Turner at third.

Mattingly said he hasn't had any conversations with Guerrero about playing time other than earlier in the season.

"He knows we know where he stands and how he feels about it," Mattingly said. "He handled himself like a true pro. You have to speak up for youself when things aren't how you like them or want them. But he was very respectful that we have a job to do and have to make decisions that are best for all, and that there are more people than just him. The way he handled himself was great."

Though he hasn't started often — Guerrero started just three times in the last 15 games before Sunday — he has been a valuable weapon off the bench, hitting .348 (8-for-23) in games he hasn't started, with four home runs and 13 RBI in those situations.

Guerrero starts Sunday night in place of Andre Ethier, who is 2-for-18 (.111) with a walk in his last six games.

"As much as anything, with Dre, we wanted to wanted to give him not only today but tomorrow too with the lefty, give him a couple days. He seemed to be fighting it lately, getting a little frustrated," Mattingly said. "We wanted to give him a little rest. We feel like we have pushed him as hard as anybody as far as playing time.

Ethier has played 50 of the last 53 games, including 44 starts. He won't start Monday in Chicago either, with left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada starts the opener of a four-game series for the Cubs.

After getting a lower left leg contusion from a hit by pitch on Saturday, Nori Aoki is not starting for the Giants on Sunday. Instead, Brandon Belt shifts to left field with Justin Maxwell in right field, with Buster Posey at first base and Andrew Susac catching Tim Lincecum.

Angel Pagan moves to leadoff for San Francisco, with third baseman Matt Duffy shifting to the three spot.