Since 2006 there has been a kaleidoscope of Andre Ethiers -- varied, complex, often unpredictable. He could be so clutch one moment, irritated over seemingly nothing the next, life of the clubhouse and then sulking. He could be a clever, terrific interview one time, testy and difficult the next.
Are you now ready for his latest incarnation? It’s Andre Ethier, the mature one. Andre Ethier, grown up and wise.
Like all four of the Dodgers’ prime-time outfielders, he started the season slowly. And, like all four, he recently has been on a tear.
Yet Thursday, Manager Don Mattingly announced Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp had won two of the regular outfield positions, while left-handed hitters Carl Crawford and Ethier would have to battle for playing time.
Ethier has hit .333 since April 30.
And suddenly he’s out? It’s understandable he’d be frustrated, but in years past he might have approached his situation with outrage and indignation.
“There’s nothing that needs to be said,” Ethier said after he sat Saturday against right-hander Matt Cain. “Nothing has to be stirred up. It’s a long year, it really is. A lot of stuff can happen. We need all the guys we have in that locker room and we’ll need guys we have below" in the minors.
That doesn’t mean Ethier is not disappointed, or even a little confused at the situation. But he’s not doing the petulant routine, either. He is very much saying the right things.
“Everyone wants to be out there playing every day,” he said. “My feelings haven’t changed. But just because my feelings haven’t changed doesn’t mean my role sometimes doesn’t change.
“You just have to go out there and figure out what you’ve been asked to do that day. And whatever I’m asked to do that day, I’m going to do it. I’m going to be ready when I get the opportunity to go out there and play again, and still come fit and prepared like I’m going to be out there until I don’t see my name in the lineup.”
Not exactly the guy who believed he found success by playing with a chip on his shoulder. Maybe it’s the security of an $85-million contract, or all that experience, or just maybe, this really is the new Ethier.