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DODGERS FYI

Cory Hahn sees different side of Dodgers' Andre Ethier

The slugger hosts the paralyzed former Arizona State baseball player at the Dodgers' spring-training complex. The two have maintained contact since Ethier first visited Hahn in the hospital last year.

March 08, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Cory Hahn, a former Southern California high school baseball star who was paralyzed during one of his first collegiate games with Arizona State last year, visited the Dodgers' spring training complex on Thursday.
Cory Hahn, a former Southern California high school baseball star who was… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

Reporting from Phoenix — The Andre Ethier that Cory Hahn knows isn't short-tempered. He isn't moody.

The Ethier that Hahn knows was among the first people to visit him in the hospital last year after he broke his neck sliding into second base in a game at Arizona State.

"He's a genuine guy," Hahn said. "On the field, he's a gamer. Off the field, he's been nothing but nice and awesome to me and my family."

Hahn and his father visited the Dodgers' spring-training complex Thursday as guests of Ethier, who played college ball at Arizona State. Hahn, who is paralyzed from the chest down, was in a wheelchair.

Hahn, 20, was raised in Orange County and attended Santa Ana Mater Dei High. He grew up an Angels fan.

But, Hahn noted, "I never disliked the Dodgers."

Hahn and his father were in the Dodgers' clubhouse during the rookies' talent show, which was won by non-roster pitcher Scott Rice.

"It was fun to see," said Hahn, who has resumed his studies at Arizona State.

Hahn's trip to Camelback Ranch followed countless conversations with Ethier, who maintained contact with him after his initial hospital visit last year.

"The fact that he kept in touch and continued to reach out, whenever he gets the chance to see how I'm doing, it means a lot," Hahn said. "For him to take the time to do that … he doesn't have to if he doesn't want to."

Ethier's on-field intensity is typical among Arizona State players, according to Hahn.

"He's got the ASU attitude, that's for sure," Hahn said. "We always want to win. We're always competitive. We have that relentless attitude."

Coffey time

Between the fourth and fifth innings of the Dodgers' 7-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday, a bearded man of considerable size sprinted full speed out of the bullpen toward the mound.

Making the mad dash was Todd Coffey, the good-natured middle reliever the Dodgers signed to a one-year, $1.3-million deal over the winter. Coffey pitched a perfect inning in his first appearance for his new club, striking out two.

Coffey, 31, is listed in the team's media guide at 6 feet 4, 240 pounds. He admits he is probably closer to 260-268 pounds.

"I've got some girth," he said, "but I'm in shape."

Coffey thinks his size has been a source of durability. He has made at least 69 appearances in each of the last three seasons, including 78 with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009.

"I'm a firm believer that a bullpen guy has to have a little extra on him because of all that's demanded of us," he said.

As a Cincinnati Reds prospect in 2000, Coffey said he lost 40 pounds and was down to around 220. That's when he blew out his elbow and had to undergo Tommy John surgery.

It wasn't until later that he adopted his routine of sprinting out of the bullpen, which made him a fan favorite in places such as Milwaukee and Washington, D.C.

The custom started in 2004 when Coffey was pitching in the Reds system. His double-A team erased a seven-run deficit and took a lead.

"I was pumped up and I kind of ran out there," he said.

He pitched well that night, so the next time he pitched he sprinted again.

The only time he almost fell during his run to the mound was in his first appearance at Dodger Stadium, in 2005.

"I didn't know there was a step down" from the bullpen to the field, Coffey said. "I didn't fall, but it was one of those waving-arm stumbles."

Manager Don Mattingly missed Coffey's bullpen-to-mound run Thursday but said, "I'm sure it was thunderous."

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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