Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/6/13
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 go this route the remainder of the season we don't feel it's something we have to plug up because he's done a fine job." So much so that some team officials think Ethier's play in center field has been superior to that of the more athletic Kemp who won Gold Gloves in 2009 and 2011. Manager Don Mattingly recently hinted that Ethier could remain the Dodgers' primary center fielder even after Kemp returns from the disabled list this month. "It's hard to do anything with 'Dre right now" Mattingly said. Ethier was moved to center field to keep his bat in the lineup. Although Ethier was slumping offensively — he was batting .253 when he made his first start at his new position May 30 — his track record indicated he was one of the team's better hitters. Rookie Yasiel Puig was settling in as the team's right fielder. Mattingly had no intention of playing Carl Crawford anywhere other than left. Before this season Ethier played center field in only one regular-season game. He also played it in the 2010 All-Star game when the National League didn't have a natural center fielder among the starters. The last time he was a regular center fielder was at Arizona State.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Carmelo expects to remain with Knicks

James Harden: ‘For sure’ I’m the best player in the world

Report: Pats expected to make good effort to keep Bennett

Glenn Robinson III dunks over three people to win Slam Dunk Contest

Kevin Durant booed at All-Star introductions in New Orleans

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Charles Oakley joins Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league

Report: Kirk Cousins does not want to be with Redskins

Hall of Famer Goose Gossage says it’s ‘insulting’ to be compared to Mariano Rivera

12-year MLB veteran Nick Swisher announces retirement

Report: Chiefs, Broncos among teams that interest Tony Romo

Report: Pistons, Magic have discussed Reggie Jackson trade

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Best of Yardbarker: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

Eat, Drink, Watch: Everything goes better with a side of New Orleans

Box Score 2/17: Happy birthday, Michael Jordan (and welcome to 1000 point club, Sid!)

The 'Michael Jordan might still win the Dunk contest if he entered' quiz

How to reboot NBA All-Star Weekend

Second-year NBA stars who can salvage the season

Observations from a day at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Box Score 2/16: Getting ready for the ASG

Too much to Process: Can Simmons match the Embiid hype?

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

Best of YB: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

Who will break these NBA All-Star Game records?

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Eat, Drink, Watch: Everything goes better with a side of New Orleans

How to reboot NBA All-Star Weekend

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Second-year NBA stars who can salvage the season

Observations from a day at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

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