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Giants’ Alou Likes Ethier, Just Not Who He Plays for

Times Staff Writer

Scouts often compare a young player to a major league star who possesses similar attributes, primarily to give the front office a reference point in evaluating skills.

Rarely, though, does an experienced manager draw such a comparison. Especially the manager of a rival team.

Yet San Francisco Giants Manager Felipe Alou couldn’t help himself after watching Dodgers rookie left fielder Andre Ethier last weekend.

“Ethier is Bobby Abreu, the same swing, the same approach,” he said. “That player is really something.”

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Abreu, of course, is an All-Star outfielder who starred for eight years with the Philadelphia Phillies before being traded to the New York Yankees last month. He has a .303 career batting average, 199 home runs and has driven in more than 100 runs four of the last five seasons.

Ethier, acquired from the Oakland Athletics during the off-season for Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez, is batting .343 with 11 home runs and 51 runs batted in.

Certainly it was those numbers, as well as Ethier’s keen eye and ability to hit to all fields, that prompted Alou’s praise. But the Giants manager felt the need to qualify his comments after getting quizzical looks from reporters who cover his team.

“I’m not talking about a Dodger player,” he said. “I’m talking about a player that used to be with the Oakland A’s.”

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Despite his stellar season, Ethier has strong competition for National League rookie of the year.

Dodgers catcher Russell Martin and closer Takashi Saito will be considered, as will at least five other players.

Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder (.279, 22 home runs, 61 RBIs), Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (.281-17-83), Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla (.287-19-70) and St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan (.345-14-29) have hit well and Marlins starter Josh Johnson (11-6) leads the league with a 2.84 earned-run average.

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The Little League World Series team from Barquisimeto, Venezuela, has one exuberant rooter in the Dodgers clubhouse. Relief pitcher Giovanni Carrara has lived in the town for 18 years and has donated time and money to the youth baseball organization.

The president of the Barquisimeto Little League, Domingo Carrasquel, was Carrara’s winter league manager for many years. Carrasquel is the brother of former shortstop Chico Carrasquel, one of the first Latino players to break into the majors.

“I’m enjoying watching the kids,” Carrara said. “It’s a well-run organization with a lot of dedicated people. I’m pulling for them to go all the way.”


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