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Andre Ethier takes the long view on hitting

Despite hitting only .202 over his last 35 games of the regular season, the outfielder looks at the whole season, not just the final weeks.

October 08, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

Andre Ethier batted .202 over his final 35 games of the regular season.

But Ethier refused to acknowledge that he was heading into the playoffs on a slump.

"The last few weeks have been great," he said, before going two for three with two runs scored in Game 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals. "We won and clinched a playoff spot. In your eyes they were probably tough."

But his numbers were down . . .

"My numbers are great for the year, what are you talking about?" he said. "It's not about three weeks in the season. It's the whole season."

Ethier, who batted .272 with 31 home runs and 103 runs batted in over the season, then tried to make a cross-occupational comparison.

"I think when you write a bad article, you write a bad article," he said. "Then you write a good article if you can."

Some reporters are streaky, Ethier was told. Of course, the public doesn't care much about a reporter's writing slump.

"My public doesn't, either," Ethier said. "I don't think of it as being refreshed, not refreshed, in a slump or not in a slump."

Playoff roster set

The Dodgers' 25-man roster for the division series didn't have any major surprises.

With Manager Joe Torre opting to carry 11 pitchers, the Dodgers had room for six bench players: Juan Pierre, Orlando Hudson, Juan Castro, Brad Ausmus, Jim Thome and Mark Loretta.

Jon Garland made the roster as a long reliever and Jeff Weaver as a situational right-hander.

Among the notable exclusions were Guillermo Mota, James McDonald, Scott Elbert and Doug Mientkiewicz.

Mientkiewicz dislocated his shoulder in April and was expected to be out for the remainder of the season, but rushed back in time to play in September with hopes of making the playoff roster.

"It's not about me right now," he said. "It's about us. Am I disappointed? Of course. I busted my [rear end] for 10 hours a day for four months to help this team win. But if [Torre] felt that the club was better with people other than me on it, then it's OK with me."

Elbert is working out at the Dodgers' spring training facility in Arizona, along with Blake DeWitt, Chin-lung Hu and Jason Repko.

Mota and McDonald remain with the Dodgers.

Kershaw confident

Clayton Kershaw called the Dodgers' division-clinching victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday "the biggest game I've ever pitched in."

"I had fun with it," he said.

As he did on that day, the 21-year-old Kershaw said he expects to have butterflies in his stomach today when he makes his first postseason start.

"I'll probably be nervous for sure," he said. "I'm nervous every time I pitch. I think it's how you handle the nerves, how you channel it, how you can use it to your advantage sometimes."

That settles that

Randy Wolf and now-retired catcher Mike Lieberthal were teammates on the Philadelphia Phillies from 1999 to 2006. They also played together on the Dodgers in 2007. Not once did they play in the postseason together.

By reaching the playoffs with the Dodgers this season, Wolf discovered the answer to a question he had pondered for some time.

"I knew the jinx was either me or Mike Lieberthal and, unfortunately, it was Mike," Wolf said.


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