SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It can’t be lost on Andre Ethier that the player he is said to be competing against for the starting center-field job, rookie Joc Pederson, is batting .472 this spring. Or, then again, maybe it is lost on Ethier.
“I don’t even know what anyone’s hitting. I don’t know what I’m hitting,” Ethier said. “Spring numbers are a tough thing to define and look at, especially for myself. I hit four-something last year and look how my season ended up. You just try to get yourself in a good rhythm.”
Getting Ethier in rhythm could prove important to the Dodgers’ efforts this spring one way or another. It could make him a more valuable fourth outfielder or it could make him easier to trade. It’s no secret the Dodgers have tried to trade Ethier and would like to move as much of the $56 million left on his contract as they can while freeing a spot for Pederson.
Several teams are said to be seeking an outfielder, particularly the San Francisco Giants who have lost Hunter Pence to injury. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman proved he’ll trade within the division by sending Matt Kemp to San Diego for Yasmani Grandal.
Ethier said early in camp that he would prefer to play every day elsewhere than to be a reserve for the Dodgers, but he said he hasn’t monitored trade developments either online or in conversations with his agent. He said he’s also not counting the scouts in attendance at Dodgers’ Cactus League games.
“I’m here until I hear otherwise,” Ethier said. “I’m not out there shaking hands. I’m just going out and playing for this team right now.”
Ethier got off to a slow start at the plate, but he's looked better in recent games. He jumped on Jhoulys Chacin’s first pitch to him in the first inning and hit a long two-run home run to right-center field in the Dodgers’ 6-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies Saturday.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who has been wary of sharing the Dodgers' Opening Day plans with reporters this spring, said Ethier remains in the mix for an outfield job.
"He’s been considered the whole time and he’s swinging the bat well," Mattingly said.