Thursday, February 24, 2011

Andre Ethier, Budding Leader

USA Today posted that Andre Ethier wants to be a leader for the Dodgers in 2011; he's just not sure how to assume that role:

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Andre Ethier wants to be a leader for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He wants to be the kind of player who sets a good example and can bring a clubhouse together.

"He can be that guy," said new Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who has already had conversations with the quiet, unassuming right fielder along those lines.

"He had confusion from the standpoint of, 'I don't know how to do it.' Those were his exact words. I explained he doesn't have to do anything but play the game hard. Every day," Mattingly added. "He works harder than anybody else. I just need him to do that every day. If he'll do that, he doesn't have to say a word."

Mattingly, a Yankees captain and then coach, mentioned Derek Jeter in New York as an example.

"You see this good-looking guy and you hear about Miss America and everybody else, and you think he's not tough," Mattingly said Monday. "This is the toughest guy I've ever been around. All he does is go out and play every day.

"And when your best player ... ," then Mattingly seemed to catch himself. "I'm not going to name Andre that, but when your best players play the hardest, that's leadership That's what Jeet did over the years. That's all Andre has to do."

First of all, I'm hoping that Mattingly isn't getting Ethier mixed up with the crazy Indian Bollywood movie full of love and loss and crime and dancing. Shouldn't it be "Jete"? Or does that word look too much like a ballet move?

In any event, I'd love to see Ethier become more of a leader for the Dodgers; I agree, he could be that guy. Mattingly said that he's leaning toward Ethier in the three-hole with Matt Kemp in cleanup and Rafael Furcal at leadoff (the #2 hitter hasn't been named yet). If Ethier can thrive as he did in the first half of 2010 and lead by example, I have a feeling his backbone will strengthen as well and he could assume that role.

Get out there, Andre, and lead!