Reporting from Cincinnati — Andre Ethier had little to say about the home run he hit Wednesday night, his first since returning from the disabled list May 31.
"You get lucky once in a while," he said of his three-run home run in the sixth inning of the Dodgers' 6-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
This wasn't the first time Ethier described himself this way.
In recent days, the star of a new SportsCenter commercial went out of his way to claim that he wasn't even a good player.
This despite his .346 average, which leads the National League. Or that he is in line to start in his first All-Star game. Or that he hit 31 home runs and drove in 106 runs last season.
"I really believe it," Ethier said. "I've been lucky my whole career to be where I'm at right now. I've been good enough to stay consistent. I'm not a very good player. I'm not a very good talent. I just go out there and execute."
And so when Ethier was asked about his dip in form since being activated from the disabled list May 31, he said everything was fine.
Ethier was batting .392 with 11 home runs and 38 runs batted in when a broken pinkie sidelined him May 15. He has hit .250 with five RBIs since.
"I don't want to hit that high," he said. "People won't pay attention to me. I'd rather go unnoticed. I'd rather hit .270 and go unnoticed."
He explained further.
"I think sometimes you can overexpose yourself," he said. "I'm not a very good player. I'd rather play under the radar and have no one pay attention to me and go out there and do my thing without anyone looking to me as a key."
Reed Johnson received a text message from his wife Tuesday night telling him that he was embarrassing their family.
Johnson's wife saw him on television wearing a Fu Manchu.
Johnson, who has a shaven head, had a full beard until Tuesday, when he took early batting practice at Great American Ball Park.
"It was like 1,000 degrees," Johnson said.
So Johnson shaved his beard — well, most of it.
Despite his wife's protests, baseball's protocol required Johnson to keep the beard, as the Dodgers won that night.
"We're going to roll off like 20 in a row and I'm going to have to keep it," he said.
Kemp bats sixth again
For the second consecutive game, Matt Kemp was batting sixth instead of his usual second.
"Just to try to get him out of the spotlight a little bit," Torre said. "He's been fighting himself."
Kemp went into Cincinnati in an 0-for-16 slump. He was two for four Tuesday and one for five Wednesday.
Claudio Vargas, released by the Milwaukee Brewers this month, is back in the Dodgers organization. Vargas is set to start for triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday.… Chad Billingsley, officially put on the disabled list Wednesday, threw on flat ground.… Billingsley was replaced on the roster by right-hander Travis Schlichting. Torre said Schlichting would likely be sent back to triple A on Saturday to make room for Vicente Padilla, who will be activated from the disabled list.… Jonathan Broxton turned 26.
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