Silence turns out to be golden for Ethier
SAN FRANCISCO -- Andre Ethier admitted there were times he wanted to complain about his role on the Dodgers. He said he was glad he took out his frustration on his video-game drum set instead.
Sunday, Manager Joe Torre said Ethier would be a regular in the outfield alongside Manny Ramirez and Matt Kemp. Ethier responded in his second consecutive start with a two-for-four performance that included a triple and two runs.
“There are times you’d like to lash out and say something, but at the same time you have to step back and look at the situation first,” Ethier said. “That’s more of an emotional or rash decision to go out and say something.
“You have to figure out why certain things are happening and look at the plus side of it. This is a situation where there’s definitely a big plus. I’m getting the chance to play with one of the best players in the game and I’m getting to learn and [see] how he prepares himself.”
Ethier was, of course, referring to Ramirez, whose trade to the Dodgers added a body to what was already a four-man outfield rotation that included slumping Andruw Jones. Upon completion of the deal, Torre said Juan Pierre would receive a majority of the playing time in center field. With Kemp playing well, Ethier appeared to be the odd man out.
Ethier, 26, said he didn’t feel like he was in a position to complain.
“You have to know your place and know your role,” he said. “I’m in a place and role in my career where I can’t make a fuss about it. I still have a lot to prove in this game.”
Chad Billingsley wasn’t at his best Sunday, as he had trouble locating his fastball.
“It was primarily battling, trying to get by with what I had that day,” Billingsley said. “My off-speed stuff was there, so I was pitching backwards.”
That he could limit the San Francisco Giants to three runs and nine hits over six innings was a sign of growth to Torre.
“It wasn’t his best outing, as far as command and stuff, but I see a lot of maturity there as far as finding a way to make it work,” Torre said.
Catcher Russell Martin was hit below the knuckles on his throwing hand by a foul ball off the bat of Eugenio Velez in the ninth inning, but remained in the game to see Velez single through Hong-Chih Kuo’s legs to drive in the winning run.
Asked if he could play today, Martin replied, “Of course.”
“It wasn’t particularly painful,” Martin said. “My fingers were numb.”
Numb enough that when he attempted a practice throw, he threw it far over the head of third baseman Casey Blake and into left field.
Nomar Garciaparra probably will be activated Tuesday, the first day he is eligible to come off the disabled list, Torre said. Garciaparra fielded grounders at short and ran the bases Friday and Saturday. . . . Jones is nursing a sore right knee and was available only to pinch-hit Sunday. The knee is the same one that was operated on in late May. . . . Brad Penny threw a bullpen session and told Torre he had “a little stiffness,” but the manager said it wasn’t anything serious enough to prevent Penny from making his next start. . . . Until Ramirez’s two-run double gave the Dodgers a 4-3 lead in the seventh, Giants starter Matt Cain was in line to beat them for the first time in his career. Cain, who gave up four runs and six hits in seven innings, remained 0-5 against L.A.