After Andre Ethier went 5-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 11-1 thumping of the Miami Marlins it’s easy to forget that in February, the two-time All-Star’s status with the team for the 2015 season was up in the air.
Amid ongoing rumors that he was on the trading block, Ethier voiced his desire to be in the starting lineup but also remained patient, waiting for an opportunity to contribute. With injuries to outfielders Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig, Ethier has been presented with an opportunity and done his part to seize it.
While Ethier said he wanted to start on a daily basis, he admitted Tuesday night he was uncertain if his desire would morph into reality. “I didn’t know if it was going to be true, but that’s what I had in my mind going in,” Ethier said.
“I had to have that mentality because that’s what’s expected and that’s what I expect of myself. I’m not going to sell myself short, and I’m not going to sell anyone else short here. If I did, I’d be letting a lot of people down. What I expected was to find a way to contribute it, whatever way it was.”
Manager Don Mattingly praised Ethier, who is batting .329 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in 97 plate appearnaces, for his current form and reflected on the outfielder’s Spring Training remarks.
“Andre is just swinging the bat really well,” Mattingly said. “He’s totally healthy at this point, and it’s probably been a while since that happened. I think he came in with a little bit of a mission in Spring Training. He said he wanted to play every day. He voiced that, which truly kind of put the pressure on him to go out and do it, and he’s really backed it up with his play. He’s using the whole field and he really looks like he’s the best he’s looked in a few years.”
With Puig aggravating his hamstring injury Friday during a rehab assignment which is expected put him out of action longer than initially expected, and Crawford still out with a torn oblique, Ethier will continue to have the opportunity to make his case to be an everyday starter for the foreseeable future.