Dodgers' Andre Ethier speaks up on trade rumors, position changes

Andre Ethier has started the Dodgers' opener in right field for five consecutive seasons. That streak appears over, barring injury to Yasiel Puig.

That could leave Ethier in center field, or in left field, or left out, or on another team. The Dodgers say they have no plans to trade any of their four outfielders at this time, but they would not be opposed to trading one in order to replenish their prospect stock.

That has left Ethier in the position of reading his name in trade rumors all winter, again.

"I thought I was looking at a headline from last year, or the year before," Ethier said Monday.

Ethier, 31, is entering the second year of a five-year, $85-million contract. That signing -- in June 2012 -- was the first major move of the Dodgers' new ownership, the start of a spending spree of more than half a billion dollars on such players as Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu.

The Dodgers could yet add pitchers David Price or Masahiro Tanaka as high-priced acquisitions, but for now they have limited their spending this winter to a relatively modest $63 million, for infielders Alexander Guerrero and Juan Uribe and pitchers Dan Haren and Brian Wilson.

"We already have a $200-million payroll," Ethier said, "so how much more money can you really spend?"

Ethier, hampered by a microfracture in his left leg at the end of last season, said he has started jogging and has not experienced any discomfort. He said he wants to remain with the Dodgers and said he does not necessarily consider himself a right fielder.

"I consider myself any position in the outfield. I'm able to play all three," he said. "I guess that's the one good thing -- I'm able, somewhat into my career, to be able to transition to different spots in the outfield."

Ethier spoke Monday at the Union Rescue Mission, a charity with which he has been involved for seven years. He and his wife Maggie, along with the Dodgers' foundation, have donated funds necessary to add a learning center to the facility. That center would provide classroom space, computer workstations and a library, better enabling the Union Rescue Mission to extend its services to the homeless.

"A part of being with the Dodgers is making sure you're staying involved in the community," Ethier said.

Alumni of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising prepared designs for the learning center and presented them to Ethier on Monday. The design team proposed curves in the architecture and called the center "The Learning Curve."

"I think this is a curve that even you will like," designer Alexandrea Lee told Ethier.

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