Ethier could set a double standard

Times Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Among the Dodgers’ five hits Saturday were two doubles by Andre Ethier, giving him 43 in less than two years in the big leagues.

Since the franchise moved from Brooklyn before the 1958 season, only five players have collected more in their first two full seasons -- Eric Karros (57), Russell Martin (53), Raul Mondesi (50), Todd Hollandsworth (46) and Jim Lefebvre (44).

Not that Ethier was counting.

“I know they keep track of stuff like that. But I didn’t know to even consider myself in there,” said Ethier, who passed Mike Piazza on Saturday. “I don’t even know how many doubles I have. I don’t even pay attention.”


Which isn’t to say he doesn’t consider it an accomplishment.

“It’s one of those things where you don’t go out there to try to go after that type of stuff,” he said. “It’s just going out and playing good, hard baseball every day. . . . [But] it makes me feel good. Since the Dodgers have been out in L.A. it’s a pretty storied franchise. A lot of good players have come through here. To notch yourself up in there somehow . . . it’s kind of a neat thing.”

Manager Grady Little is familiar with former All-Star infielder Shea Hillenbrand, the newest Dodgers property, since the two were together for parts of two seasons in Boston.

“He’s a good hitter, got some versatility,” Little said of Hillenbrand, who signed a minor league deal Friday. “When he goes to the plate he’s a threat.”

Hillenbrand has been released by the Angels and Padres this season but Little said General Manager Ned Colletti approached him for his opinion on the player before offering him a roster spot with triple-A Las Vegas. And though Hillenbrand was batting only .147 for San Diego’s triple-A team in Portland, Ore., when the Padres let him go, Little expects to see him in a Dodgers uniform soon.

“There’s no timetable,” he said. “But I’m sure that he’ll be with us before the season’s over.”

The Dodgers followed the Hillenbrand signing by obtaining catcher Chad Moeller from Cincinnati for cash considerations Saturday, their third acquisition in as many days. Moeller, 32, an eight-year big league veteran from USC, batted .167 in 30 games with the Reds this season before being sent to triple-A Louisville, where he hit .250 in 16 games.

The Dodgers also assigned Moeller to Las Vegas.

Jeff Kent, who has reached base in only one of the four games he has played since returning from a strained hamstring, got the day off Saturday. And Little plans to rest catcher Russell Martin and third baseman Nomar Garciaparra this afternoon, when the temperature is forecast to top 100 degrees.

Martin has missed only two starts since the All-Star break, and Garciaparra, who is four for 15 on the trip, is batting .239 on the road.

Las Vegas first baseman John Lindsey, who batted .337 with nine homers, 39 RBIs and a .716 slugging percentage, was named the Dodgers’ minor league player of the month for July. Right-handers James McDonald of double-A Jacksonville and Jesus Rodriguez of Class-A Inland Empire shared honors as the organization’s top pitchers.

McDonald, promoted to Jacksonville on July 5, was 3-1 with a 1.19 earned-run average and 28 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings, holding opponents to a .192 average. Rodriguez saved two games, posted a 2.16 ERA and held opponents to a .182 average in 25 innings in relief.