Right fielder Andre Ethier will be activated from the 15-day disabled list when the Dodgers return home Monday to open a three game series vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to the team’s website Sunday evening.

Prior to breaking his right pinky finger in a bizarre accident during batting practice on May 15, Ethier led the National League in batting average (.392), home runs (11), runs batted-in (38), slugging percentage (.744) and OPS (1.201).

In the two games during his rehabilitation at class AAA Albuquerque, Ethier went three for five at the plate, with two RBI and three runs scored.

 “Last night went well,” Manager Joe Torre said on Sunday in regards to Ethier’s performance with the Isotopes. “I expect him to play tomorrow, or the next day.”

To make room on the roster for Ethier, Los Angeles will need to reassign another player, unless an injury suddenly surfaces with someone else, in which case an addition will be made to the Dodgers’ disabled list.

Many in Dodgertown believe that outfielder Xavier Paul, who was reactivated for the second time on May 18 to stand in for Ethier, will be the odd man out.

However, Paul has shown very productive numbers in his 20 games played for Los Angeles, since being called up initially on April 24 when Manny Ramirez re-aggravated his calf muscle.

Paul currently registers a .281 batting average while up with the Dodgers, having gone 17 for 60 at the plate, with 10 runs scored, five doubles, a triple and seven RBI.

Another possibility for Los Angeles would be to designate outfielder Garret Anderson for assignment, who has been struggling since the beginning of the season.

Having appeared in 41 games this year, Anderson is batting .158, going 12 for 76 with four runs scored, a double, a triple, one home run and seven RBI.

Although Paul is much more valuable on the basepaths than Anderson, and has the ability to cover more ground in the outfield defensively, Anderson is expected to be retained for his pinch-hitting ability and veteran leadership.

Pinch hitting is often left for veterans who have a thorough understanding of game situations, and have the ability to come in cold off the bench and have a positive impact on the game.

Nevertheless, Paul has already been described by many people as the heir apparent to Manny Ramirez in left field, as Ramirez’ contract is not expected to be renewed after the 2010 season.

Some think by having Paul on the squad now will allow for a smoother transition next year.

Regardless, Los Angeles management is faced with a difficult choice as to which player to retain.

The Dodgers are expected to make a decision before game time on Monday.



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