Andre Ethier gets starting nod in center field for Los Angeles Dodgers

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Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Andre Ethier, who played sparingly in the division series because of an ankle injury, was in the lineup for Game 1 of the NL Championship Series.

Manager Don Mattingly said Ethier assured him and the rest of the team he’d be able to make all the plays. He was batting seventh against St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly on Friday night.

“Well, it gets us back to the kind of lineup that we played most of the middle of our year, with Andre out in center, and it feels good to get him back in there,” Mattingly said. “We’re comfortable he can play center today the way he’s capable of, and we’ll see where we go from there.”

The Dodgers are going with starting pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu and Ricky Nolasco in Games 3 and 4. Paco Rodriguez was not on the roster, leaving the Dodgers with one lefty in the bullpen.

Right-handers Carlos Marmol and Edinson Volquez also were added and Chris Capuano was not on the roster.

The Cardinals made no roster moves.

ATHLETICS: General manager Billy Beane plans to keep his club as close to intact as possible to make another run at the playoffs next year, and that starts with exercising a $7.5 million option for leadoff hitter Coco Crisp.

“It’s pretty apparent we would pick up Coco Crisp’s option,” Beane said.

Small-budget Oakland, coming off consecutive AL West crowns, also plans to try to re-sign Bartolo Colon. The 40-year-old 18-game winner lost Game 1 of the division series, and manager Bob Melvin started rookie Sonny Gray in Game 5 against Justin Verlander.

The A’s could lose closer Grant Balfour in free agency as the team rarely spends big money on its bullpen.

MARLINS: Manager Mike Redmond will be joined by two new coaches on the 2014 coaching staff.

Brett Butler has been named third base/outfield coach, and Frank Menechino will be the new hitting coach.

RANGERS: Reliever Jason Frasor has agreed to a $1.75 million, one-year deal to remain with the team rather than become a free agent.

The 36-year-old right-hander went 4-3 with a 2.57 ERA in 61 appearances in his first season with the Rangers. Opponents hit a career-low .203 against him.

Over his final 41 appearances since June, Frasor allowed eight earned runs over 35 innings, a 2.06 ERA.

The 10-year major league veteran is 30-34 with a 3.67 ERA in 586 career appearances, all in relief.


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