Heading into the 2015 season, Andre Ethier made it clear that he wanted in the starting lineup, even if it meant that it wasn’t with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ethier had a strong showing in Spring Training, but when the season started, he found himself as a player off the bench behind Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Carl Crawford. The veteran outfielder made the most of his opportunities, and when Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig went down with injuries at the same time, it was Ethier that was able to take advantage. He was one of the reasons that the Dodgers were able to continue winning despite being down two starting outfielders.
That hard work and production will be paying off, as manager Don Mattingly revealed his plan for when Crawford is ready to return via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
At this point, Andre’s kind of taken that spot, to be honest with you,” Mattingly said. “Carl’s going to have to work his way back in.
“We’ll figure a way to use him, for sure. But he’s going to have to work his way in.”
Even though he’s cooled off a bit from his hot start, Ethier is hitting .273 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs in 66 games. He was primarily in right field until Puig returned a couple weeks ago, and now mans left field for the most part, platooning with Scott Van Slyke and Alex Guerrero.
Ethier was all but written off after 2014, a season in which he hit .249 and hit just four home runs. He was nothing more than a bat off the bench towards the end of the year, although he did get a start in Game 4 of the NLDS.
It will be interesting to see how Crawford handles the news, and if the Dodgers can continue on with so many outfielders believing they should be starting. The dilemma was lightened a bit when Matt Kemp was traded in the offseason, but could be an issue once again with Crawford’s return.
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