One of the biggest spotlights in Los Angeles Dodgers camp this spring is on veteran outfielder Andre Ethier.
Ethier drew the attention to himself after speaking out this winter on being a starter in 2015. While the former All-Star didn’t demand a trade, he has made it known that he wants to be a starter this year, whether that’s with the Dodgers remains to be seen. As camp started, it was expected that Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford and prospect Joc Pederson would be the team’s starting outfield, leaving Ethier on the bench once again.
Manager Don Mattingly mentioned that Ethier was looking to “knock down the door” this spring, but recently put that comment into perspective. “I think he’s looked fine. Trying to knock the door down is a little unfair for guy who’s trying to get ready. He’s not a kid walking in here like the Sweeneys, the Scheblers and Seagers of the world who are really just trying to show you what they can do. I think we know he can play, he knows how to play. he is an older veteran that you’re asking to get ready to play. I know he wanted to come in and really play well, but still some things are just a little bit of time,” Mattingly said.
In five games this spring, Ethier is hitting .364 and has played all three outfield spots. The 32-year-old would prefer to play the corners in the outfield, but is willing to play wherever needed. Mattingly spoke about what he’s seen from his outfielder thus far. “I’m happy with where Dre’s at. I feel like his timing is getting better and I think he feels better,” the Dodger manager said. Mattingly hasn’t given any indication of his thoughts on the starting outfield this spring, but that could change as the spring progresses.
These next few weeks could become a defining point in Ethier’s career, especially if he isn’t named a starter and the possibility of a trade demand grows.
Dodgers 2015 Spring Training – Chris Heisey