Dodgers’ Andre Ethier has tough day at the plate
Andre Ethier was as unfortunate as Vicente Padilla was wild on Monday.
A couple of feet here, a few inches there and the Dodgers could have celebrated opening day with a victory instead of the 11-5 defeat they suffered at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
“You know, that’s the way my season goes,” Ethier said. “I don’t get cheap hits.”
The final box score indicated that Ethier went one for five with a double and a run, but failed to show the hard-hit balls that somehow ended up in Pirates gloves at critical junctures in the game.
With the game tied, 2-2, in the third inning, Ethier drove a ball deep to left-center that was run down by left fielder Lastings Milledge. Manny Ramirez doubled in the next at-bat with the bases empty and the Pirates took a 3-2 lead in the bottom half of the inning on Garrett Jones’ second home run of the game.
Ethier went to the plate in the fifth inning with the Dodgers still trailing by a run and Russell Martin standing on second base, only to crush a line drive that exploded into the outstretched glove of first baseman Jeff Clement. The Dodgers didn’t score that inning; the Pirates scored five times.
No longer on top
By at least one measure, the Dodgers no longer have the top payroll in the National League West.
The title now belongs to the San Francisco Giants, who had an opening-day payroll of $99 million, according to the annual USA Today salary survey. The Dodgers’ opening-day payroll was $95 million, down from $119 million in 2008 and $100 million last season.
The Dodgers’ figure ranks 11th among the 30 teams in the majors.
New number for Anderson
Garret Anderson took his seat on the Dodgers’ bench wearing a different uniform number than he wore the entire spring.
No. 00 was gone. On his back was No. 9.
“I hated it,” the low-key Anderson said of No. 00. “It brings too much attention.”
Anderson singled in his first at-bat as a Dodger, pinch-hitting in the eighth inning and slapping a pitch by former Angels teammate Brendan Donnelly into right field.
The two traded words when Donnelly went over to cover first base on the play.
“He was messing with me about not swinging at the one before that landed 30 feet in front of the plate,” Anderson said.
Two other players traded in their spring numbers for new digits: Charlie Haeger, who is now wearing No. 49 instead of No. 37, and Carlos Monasterios, who is wearing Haeger’s old number instead of No. 68.
Troncoso misses opening day
The Dodgers started the season with 11 pitchers.
Change of plans? No, a 12th pitcher, Ramon Troncoso, returned home Sunday for the birth of his daughter, Isabella. The reliever is expected to be back with the team Tuesday.
One last move
The Dodgers finalized their opening-day roster before the game by moving Cory Wade to the 15-day disabled list and promoting Russ Ortiz.
Mindful of the remote possibility that Ortiz could hurt himself in the team’s Sunday workout, the Dodgers waited until game day to purchase his contract, which is worth $650,000 if Ortiz is on the major league roster.