Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/16/12

Given that Matt Kemp followed up his National League MVP runner-up season with a blistering start to the 2012 campaign, it's safe to say the Los Angeles Dodgers will have a hard time replacing their All-Star center fielder.

Kemp, hitting .359 with 12 home runs and 28 RBI on the season, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a strained left hamstring.

For the vast majority of the time Kemp will miss, which the Dodgers hope will be just the minimum 15 days, Tony Gwynn Jr. will patrol center field, as he is the club's best defensive outfielder.

However, on Tuesday night against Arizona, the Dodgers moved All-Star Andre Ethier, normally the right fielder, to center. It was Ethier's first career game in center field, though he did start the 2010 All-Star Game in center for the National League.

Manager Don Mattingly said he would use Ethier for two or three games in center field while Kemp is out, mostly to get right-handed-hitting Scott Van Slyke and Jerry Sands into the lineup, but also to give Gwynn, normally a reserve, some rest.

"(Gwynn's) primarily going to need to be the center fielder. He's too good defensively and brings a lot to the table," Mattingly said. "But I can't go from him not hardly playing to just running him out there every day, and the next thing you know I have no center fielder."

Ethier caught all four balls hit in the air his way in Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He went 1-for-3. Van Slyke, playing right field and batting third in his first big-league start, went 0-for-4.

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