Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 3/21/12
Reporting from Phoenix With Matt Kemp batting in front of him and presumably reaching base 35 to 40 of the time, Andre Ethier figures to see a significant number of hittable pitches this season. Ethier, in turn, thinks Kemp could benefit from his presence in the cleanup spot . "I'm hoping he's not going to be walked too much because if I'm doing my part, they'll go after him," Ethier said. "I won't say they'll challenge him fully, but it's a thing where if the 3-4 guys are going, it's tough to choose your battles." Based on how Ethier has hit this spring, that could very well be the case. Appearing to be recovered from a knee injury that deprived him of his power last season, Ethier hit his second home run of the exhibition season Tuesday in the Dodgers' 7-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Ethier is batting .440 this spring and Kemp .303, offering the promise of a lethal middle-of-the-lineup tandem that was severely compromised by Ethier's health last season. Early last season, the Dodgers received little offensive production outside of Ethier and Kemp. When Ethier's form dipped, Kemp essentially became a one-man team. Manager Don Mattingly has conceded the Dodgers are unlikely to be a high-scoring team again. But if Ethier and Kemp are both hitting well, that would provide a measure of stability that was absent last year. "I think that's our main goal, me and Matt, if we can just play off each other and help each other get better and, beyond that, help the guys in front of him and behind me," Ethier said. Of Ethier's 11 hits, 10 have been for extra bases six doubles, two triples and two home runs. "We need that," Kemp said. " 'Dre can hit, man. He's locked in now. It's good to see him swinging the bat good. It's definitely going to make it hard on the pitchers." While acknowledging Ethier is the player who could most transform the lineup, Mattingly has been careful not to overburden him with pressure. "Right now, he looks like himself, he looks like himself from a couple of years ago," Mattingly said. "I feel like he's one of the best hitters in the league when he's going right. But I don't want to put too much on him from the standpoint of having to do all this and be all this. He just needs to be himself." So, if Mattingly were an opposing manager, how he would he approach Kemp and Ethier? "It's a right-left thing with those two, really," Mattingly said. "You'd much rather attack Matty with a righty and you'd much rather attack 'Dre with a lefty." Ethier batted fifth Monday as part of a lineup Mattingly is considering using against left-handed pitchers. Ethier was hitless in two at-bats against Brewers starter Chris Narveson but was pleased with how he made an adjustment that led to his fifth-inning hit off right-hander Marco Estrada. "I had two tough at-bats today against that lefty," Ethier said. "I think it was a little mechanical thing. I figured out after that second at-bat that I was overstriding a little bit and shortened up a lot. I think that's the key more than anything. If I go out there and have sound mechanics and feel comfortable in the box, righty, lefty, it doesn't matter."
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Most strikeouts by a hitter in a single season
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Patriots have no intention of trading Gronkowski

Report: A 2015 investigation led to Kevin Wilson’s departure from Indiana

Houston denies report that Art Briles is candidate for coaching position

Draymond Green defends himself again after kicking Harden

WATCH: Video of Pirates Jung Ho Kang car crash that led to arrest

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rob Gronkowski placed on IR, ending his season

Everything you need to know for CFB Championship Week

Steve Kerr admits using marijuana to treat chronic back pain

WATCH: Huskies, Buffaloes go back-to-back with amazing plays

Rolando McClain suspended indefinitely by NFL

Helfrich, Kelly spoke about possibility of Kelly returning to Oregon

Best of Yardbarker: CFB Championship Week chaos

Five teams on upset alert in NFL Week 13

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL sweaters)

New faces help Spurs continue unparalleled success

The Pirates prepare for rarely chartered waters in dealing Andrew McCutchen

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 12/2: High-kicking it into the weekend

Jeff Fisher is the unkillable cockroach of NFL head coaches

Four teams to keep an eye on at the 2017 Winter Meetings

Eugene Monroe opens up about NFL’s drug policy

Ideal MLB offseason blueprint for every team

Eight NFL teams facing must-win games in Week 13

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL Christmas sweaters)

New faces help Spurs continue unparalleled success

The Pirates prepare for rarely chartered waters in dealing Andrew McCutchen

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Everything you need to know for CFB Championship Week

Jeff Fisher is the unkillable cockroach of NFL head coaches

Four teams to keep an eye on at the 2017 Winter Meetings

Porzingis reshapes Knicks by elevating his game

TailGreater: Your championship week playlist is set

Clarification: Why the rules near the crease need to be fixed

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker