Daily Dodger in Review: Andre Ethier, from doghouse to team player

ANDRE ETHIER, 30, outfielder

Final 2013 stats: .272 batting average, 12 home runs, 52 RBI, 33 doubles, .360 on-base and .423 slugging percentages, two errors in 257 chances.

Contract status: Will be in the second year of his $85-million, five-year contract.

The good: Had 30 or more doubles for his seventh consecutive year, a first for a Dodger. He was tied for third on the team in RBI and fourth in homers. Hit .311 on the road and .294 vs. right-handers. Led the club with 61 walks. Made himself more valuable by playing all three outfield positions, moving from right to center when Matt Kemp went down to injury, and playing it extremely well.

The bad: His home run and RBI numbers were down for him. Was hitting just .229 on June 8 before turning his season around offensively (.320 over his next 74 games). Hit .229 at home and .221 against left-handers. Season went downhill after injuring ankle in Colorado on Sept. 4. Was 4-for-28 in his last nine games, missed most of the division series against Atlanta and went 3-for-20 in league championship series vs. St. Louis. Also suffered a calf injury in early August.

What’s next: Health would be nice. He’s locked up for the next four years, so the Dodgers hope his power dip was not a sign of things to come. Still, if they all the outfielders come back healthy, he’ll be one of four starters fighting for playing time.

The take: Interesting season for Ethier. He started it poorly and was indirectly ripped by Manager Don Mattingly for not always playing hard. Then he turned it around, not only playing hard and starting to hit, but earning praise for smoothly moving to centerfield for the first time in his career. It was reasonable to wonder if he was a little fat and happy with his new contract early in the season, but by its end he was being praised as the consummate team player.

He and Kemp are no longer this naked two-man gang in the Dodgers lineup, but the Dodgers will want a more productive overall offensive season from him next year. He’s only had one 30-homer/100-RBI season and that was back in 2009. Still, he’s now proven he can play center, so he figures to get plenty of playing time in their four-outfielder jumble, particularly against right-handers.

Ethier remains one of the team’s most popular players, but he’ll be 31 in April and could use a big season. He’s overdue for a healthy season.

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