In 2010, Andre Ethier was selected by fans to start in the National League All-Star Game.
These days he shows up for work just hoping to get selected by his manager to start a game, period.
Ethier started in right field Wednesday against the Angels, which was his first, anywhere, since July 22.
The two-time All-Star really hasn’t been an everyday player all season and, recently, has been relegated to pinch-hitter or defensive replacement status.
“It’s tough,” Ethier said after hitting a walk-off fielder’s choice Tuesday against the Angels. “You come to the field every day and just check the lineup card and see if you’re in there, and as of late it hasn’t been. So, it’s one where you kind of have to scale back and figure out what you’re going to do that day to get on the field and help the team win where you’re needed.”
He’s, essentially, been phased out of the mega-millions outfield that general manager Ned Colletti has assembled. Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp have played themselves into starting roles, and if Carl Crawford can stay healthy, it seems, he’ll be the everyday left fielder.
Understandably, Ethier hates the setup. He’s an elite athlete. He’s uber prideful. Make no mistake about it, though, he believes he’s one of the three best outfielders on the team, and he should. That mindset not only got the 32-year-old to the big leagues, it got him a five-year, $85 million contract.
Dodger manager Don Mattingly, is a former All-Star himself. He’s not ignorant to the mindset. Mattingly likes Ethier. He’s talked openly about the compassion he has for what Ethier’s going through.
“We’ve also talked about with Andre that he’s a really good teammate and handled this very well. I know I appreciate that, the way he’s handled it, professionally,” Mattingly said.
But, the skipper’s not being paid to play Dr. Feelgood. He’s paid to win, by any means necessary.
“We’re at the point where we’ve kind of thrown all the egos out the door, and just try and win games. We’re in a pennant race.”
As an eight-year veteran, Ethier gets it. He may not like it, but he gets it.
“We’ve got a team that could possible do something special at the end of the year and that personal stuff definitely goes away when you realize you got the opportunity to do that.”