With Yasiel Puig being out with a hamstring issues, Andre Ethier has started three games in a row in right field for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ethier once again became the odd man out in the outfielder after a spring where he hit .327 with a home run and 11 RBIs; however, Carl Crawford, Joc Pederson and Puig were named the three outfielders. Before camp even began, Ethier made it clear that he wanted to start this season, whether with the Dodgers or elsewhere. The former Gold Glove outfielder has seven hits in 20 at-bats so far this season.
According to Dodgers Nation reporter Vince Samperio, Ethier had a simple take on his recent productivity in his increased playing time:
When the opportunity comes, just make the most of it.”
It was unclear whether Puig would be ready to play in Saturday night’s game, meaning Ethier could once again get the start in right field. His success could benefit his desire to be a starter if other teams take notice and begin to inquire about acquiring him. It was reported that the front office is willing to pay at least half of his salary in any potential deal.
The 33-year-old elaborated on what the biggest difference is between getting regular reps and coming off the bench:
Keeps you fresh and seeing the pitches. You’re able to recognize stuff and when you recognize it, you can put your best swing. With one or two at-bats a week or a spot start you kinda want to get comfortable in the batters’ box and it’s tough to get.”
Not only is Ethier enjoying a strong start at the plate, but he’s also shown what he can do defensively. On Friday night, he threw out Colorado Rockies first baseman Wilin Rosario at the plate on a single and also tracked down a fly ball in the ninth inning to make a nice catch on the run.
While it will be tough to get Ethier playing consistently once Puig is fully recovered, the Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly will have to do something to keep him in the mix.
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