MARYVALE, Ariz. Andre Ethier is preparing for his 12th season in a Dodgers uniform with a greater appreciation for the rites of spring, a renewed eagerness for the start of a new season and an understanding of how easily it can all be taken away.
“I think it’s everything,” Ethier said of his different emotions this spring. “You’re at this point in your career and – let’s be honest I sit around and watch the transactions and what’s going on in baseball these days. Thirty-five-year-olds aren’t getting too many opportunities these days, let alone good opportunities to keep playing and when you get those games taken away from you especially when I don’t feel it was a wear-and-tear injury, it wasn’t something where I was broken down – it’s tough.
“I was actually feeling really good at the time, felt like I was building off of a good year the year before and was playing at a really high level again. For something like that to take games away – that’s tough.”
Ethier, who will turn 35 during the Dodgers’ first trip of the regular season, had all but 16 games in September taken away from him last season. A foul ball off his shin in a spring training game on March 18 left a spiral fracture in his tibia and he spent most of last season waiting for the fracture to heal.
That wait didn’t truly end until December.
“Once the season ended, I really only had one little bump in the road where I kind of took a little misstep and it kind of bit me there,” Ethier said. “That was in December. Since then, I went through my usual six weeks of training here in Phoenix and did everything from my jumping, cutting, running the bases full out. – even getting on the ground and popping up in awkward positions.
“I came into this not wanting to think about it or use it as anything that would hold me back from just a normal spring training.”
As far as Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is concerned, he sees no signs of last year’s…