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Yasiel Puig needs to be an ironman in Andre Ethier's absence

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Andre Ethier's broken tibia has several effects on the Dodgers roster. Not to be overlooked is that Yasiel Puig will likely have to be an ironman in right field for the first half of the season.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Andre Ethier's broken tibia has several effects on the Dodgers roster. Not to be overlooked is that Yasiel Puig will likely have to be an ironman in right field for the first half of the season.

Scott Van Slyke already appeared slated to be the lesser-playing right-handed portion of a left field platoon with the left-handed hitting Ethier, but it also figured that Puig would get his occasional days off with a right-handed pitcher on the mound for the opposition. In those scenarios, Ethier likely would slide over to the other side of the outfield where he's started 869 games in his career (68 in 2015), with the defensively limited Carl Crawford starting in left, putting two left-handed bats in the order.

In essence, Crawford's lack of defensive flexibility was masked by the fact that the Dodgers felt comfortable starting Ethier (or Van Slyke) in right field if and when Puig needed a day off. With Ethier out for 10 to 14 weeks, or about three months of six-month season, the main "backup" to Puig is missing and that option is off the table for approximately the first half of the 2016 season.

Even if the Dodgers choose to place another outfielder on the active roster, for example rookie Trayce Thompson, none of those options are left-handed hitters, and resting Puig against a left-handed pitcher so that Van Slyke or Thompson gets a more favorable matchup seems counterproductive.

A bounce-back year from Puig was something that the Dodgers plans for this coming season appeared to count on. Now the young right-fielder needs to be extremely healthy as well.