Andre Ethier scratched with hurt elbow

LOS ANGELES -- Andre Ethier, who is riding a 29-game hitting streak, was scratched from the Los Angeles Dodgers' starting lineup for Wednesday's game with the Chicago Cubs because of left-elbow inflammation he has been battling for a couple of weeks.

"It's been sore for the last couple of days," Ethier said after the Dodgers lost 5-1. "It's more tender on the throwing than the swinging. After I take five or six hacks, it loosens up pretty nicely. But throwing, it's still kind of sore.

The change was announced 40 minutes before game time. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said an hour or so before removing Ethier from the lineup that Ethier believes the issue might have started during a series more than two weeks ago against the St. Louis Cardinals.

"We're keeping an eye on it," Mattingly said before the game.

Evidently, it hasn't bothered Ethier too much because he had started every game this season and had tied Zack Wheat (1916) for the second-longest hitting streak in franchise history, two shy of Willie Davis' team record of 31 consecutive games set in 1969.

Mattingly said before the game that even with the hitting streak on the line, he would have no hesitation to use Ethier as a pinch hitter in a key situation on a day he wasn't in the starting lineup. Ethier did not get into the game.

"I was prepared to go up there and have a last-inning at-bat today, if that's what the case was, and put it all on the line for one at-bat to get a hit," Ethier said. "I'm not frustrated because I couldn't keep the streak going today. I'm frustrated because we lost four of six on an important homestand where we were trying to catch our breath after getting off to a tough opening month. That's not a good sign."

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.