The Dodgers need to investigate Andre Ethier’s aversion to hitting singles this spring.
They might mention they are allowed, though it’s just possible they are completely fine with his swing. I mean, given that he’s simply been tearing the ball up all spring.
Ethier continued his Ruthian ways Friday against the Brewers, hitting a double and home run, each driving in a pair of runs – and all the Dodgers’ runs – in a 9-4 loss at Camelback.
In a split-squad game against the Cubs in Mesa, the Dodgers won, 6-3, behind a two-run triple by Dee Gordon.
Ethier is now hitting .400 during the spring, which isn’t even close to the most encouraging part. Of his 18 hits, an astounding 15 have been for extra bases (nine doubles, three triples, three home runs). His 16 runs batted in lead the team.
His encouraging spring could be traced largely to simple health. There’s no broken pinky, no balky knee to deal with. He has been running freely and has not complained of any pain associated with his September knee surgery.
Since the Dodgers did not go out in the off-season and sign that needed power bat for the middle of their lineup, much of their hope at improving as a team this season rests with Ethier getting back to his All-Star form.
And his play has easily been the most heartening aspect to the Dodgers’ play this spring.
After Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun answered the Dodger crowd’s boos in the top of the first by crushing a solo home run off ex-teammate Chris Capuano, Ethier put the Dodgers in front with a two-run double. Matt Kemp flashed his speed again, running through a stop sign to score the second run from first.
Ethier put the Dodgers up, 4-1, in the third, when after a single by Kemp, he hit his two-run homer. And it came against a left-hander, typically his nemesis, Milwaukee’s Juan Perez.
The Braun homer aside, Capuano threw very well. He gave up only one other hit in his six innings with a walk, while striking out seven.
Matt Guerrier, throwing for the first time since March 11 when he tweaked his back, gave up a run in his one inning of work, when Brooks Conrad greeted him in the seventh with a solo homer.
That relief appearance was followed by Jamey Wright and Todd Coffey, a pair of right-handers scheduled to be on the team when the season starts.
Wright gave up a three-run homer to Carlos Gomez in the eighth, and Coffey surrendered four more in the ninth (none earned) on three hits, a walk and an error.
Against the Cubs, Luis Cruz -- unexpectedly in the battle for the Dodgers’ final roster spot, also doubled in a pair of runs. Mike MacDougal, Scott Elbert and Kenley Jansen each threw one scoreless inning.