Some of Andre Ethier's fondest childhood memories are of days when Ethier would be picked up early by his father from his middle school in Phoenix. They would head to the Seattle Mariners' spring-training complex where he could spend hours studying every move of his favorite player Ken Griffey Jr.
"That's who I looked up to" Ethier said. "That's all I wanted to be. I always wanted to be a center fielder in the big leagues."
Eight years into his major league career Ethier is finally living out his dream the way he envisioned it on those afternoons at the Peoria Sports Complex. Exclusively a corner outfielder until this season Ethier has replaced the sidelined Matt Kemp as the Dodgers' center fielder — and thrived.
First base coach Davey Lopes who doubles as the team's outfield instructor has given Ethier the nickname "Junior" which was how his hero was affectionately called.
"No one's complaining about the job he's done" Lopes said. "We're all pleasantly surprised. If we have to ...