Reporting from Phoenix — For Andre Ethier, the road to the major leagues was riddled with potholes, from being told he had to play at a junior college instead of a four-year school to waiting for a September call-up from the Oakland Athletics that never came.
On Sunday, Ethier was told he had made his first National League All-Star team.
As a starter.
Ethier was one of two Dodgers to make the All-Star team, the other being closer Jonathan Broxton, who also made the team last season.
"It's something I never imagined would happen," Ethier said. "You fight to try to get here to the major leagues. You get here and to be singled out by the fans as one of the top outfielders is certainly something special."
Ethier finished second among NL outfielders in fan voting, his 2,784,419 votes ranking behind only the 2,972,525 collected by Ryan Braun of Milwaukee. Braves rookie Jason Heyward was third with 2,728,098 votes.
Ethier is the first Dodgers outfielder to be selected to start in the All-Star Game since Darryl Strawberry in 1991.
Furthermore, Ethier ranked first among NL outfielders in player balloting, receiving 508 votes to second-place Braun's 424.
"That doesn't surprise me," Manager Joe Torre said. "What he did early is tough to ignore. That's a feather in his cap, to be recognized by your peers."
Ethier was hitting .392 with 11 home runs and 38 runs batted in when he was sidelined with a fractured pinkie finger on May 15. On the season, he is batting .320 with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs.
Broxton looking for new experience
While this is Broxton's second consecutive All-Star selection, the closer is looking forward to doing something he didn't get to do at the All-Star game last year: pitch.
Broxton attended the game last year but didn't pitch because of a toe injury.
"Hopefully, I'll be healthy this year and help the National League win," he said.
This being his second selection, Broxton said he didn't feel the way he did last year.
"Last year, I was real excited, real nervous," he said.
Broxton took a moment to reflect on what a strange season he has had, as he has been sparingly used over some periods and almost every day in others.
"It's up and down, bunch of highs and lows," he said.
What about Raffy?
If one of the NL All-Stars gets hurt and can't play in the game, Torre said he would like to see Rafael Furcal be considered as a replacement.
"You hope they take notice of it," Torre said.
Furcal is hitting .338, including .456 in the 11 games he has played after the death of his father.
Also left off the roster was left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo, for whom Torre campaigned publicly.
Mannywood in the desert
Manny Ramirez didn't play at Chase Field over the weekend, but he left his mark.
Ramirez scribbled his signature on one of the posts of the dugout railing and wrote beneath it, "99 was here."
"Idle hands," Torre said, jokingly.
Ramirez was standing at the railing Friday night during a between-inning promotion and threw a towel at a 10-foot-tall mascot resembling Mark Grace, who was racing mascots resembling other former Diamondbacks. During the race the next day, the Grace mascot stopped in front of the Dodgers' dugout and pretended to look for the towel-thrower. On Sunday, the Grace mascot stopped in front of the Dodgers' dugout again, this time pulling out a can of Silly String and sprayed it all over Ramirez.
Buy Dodgers tickets here
Clicking on Green Links will take you to a third-party e-commerce site. These sites are not operated by the Los Angeles Times. The Times Editorial staff is not involved in any way with Green Links or with these third-party sites.