The Los Angeles Dodgers have completed their first series of the season, taking two out of three from the San Diego Padres. Outfielder Andre Ethier, who is owed $56 million over the next three seasons, received just two at-bats in the entire series.
Due to a crowded outfield filled with talent, Ethier once again finds himself without a starting position, much like the second half of last season. While Ethier stated earlier in the spring that he would like to be moved to another team if he is not starting, his big contract has not allowed the Dodgers to do that, so he remains on the team.
The 32-year-old (turns 33 Saturday) had a productive spring, batting .327 with a .407 on-base percentage, and according to JP Hoornstra of the Daily News, Ethier is focusing on the same process he focused on during Spring Training:
Probably the key to having a good spring is putting the work in in the cage and doing the drills, making sure you’re staying sharp with that stuff,” Ethier said. “Not getting complacent, not getting out of whack, not doing that stuff – that’s my biggest thing. I’m just keeping my drills up, keep getting my work done.”
Realizing he will be used more in a pinch hitter’s role, Ethier is still putting in the same amount of work, but he said he has changed his approach to games:
I’m not coming here saying ‘I’m not getting an at-bat today’ or ‘I might only get one’ and not put the work in – the quality of work in, like I’m probably going to be out there playing,” Ethier said. “Knowing that you’re not going to need to gear up for game time, you gear up more toward the fifth or sixth inning to get that at-bat, and focus all that energy toward that one at-bat.”
While the two-time All-star is a career .285 hitter, he struggled in 2014, batting .249 with four homers and 42 RBIs, all career lows, causing him to lose his starting spot.
Ethier can still prove valuable to this team, as injuries are always possible throughout a 162 game season.
Dodgers 2015 Spring Training – Justin Turner