Prior to first pitch against the Houston Astros on Friday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers paid tribute to longtime outfielder Andre Ethier with an on-field ceremony at Dodger Stadium.
Among the festivities included a video tribute, which highlighted some of Ethier’s most memorable moments with the organization over the span of 12 seasons.
The 36-year-old formally announced his retirement beforehand at a press conference, revealing that he initially intended to resume his career this season.
A worthwhile opportunity never presented itself by the start of Spring Training, however, which all but solidified Ethier’s decision to hang up his cleats for good.
While Ethier admitted his desire to still be playing, he had some fun at the expense of former teammate Joc Pederson. Ethier joked that if Pederson can get hits at the Major League level, then so can he, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“I’d love to be out there,” Ethier said. “If Joc can get a hit, I can get a hit.”
Ethier’s comments were obviously in jest, as he and Pederson developed a strong friendship during their four seasons together as teammates from 2014-17. That’s after Ethier took it upon himself to become a leader inside the clubhouse, to which he wanted to mentor some of the younger players as they adapted to the Majors.
After seeing a decline in his production in 2017, Pederson has bounced back as one of the Dodgers’ most reliable hitters this season. He has especially torn the cover off the ball as of late, hitting .288/.338/.561 with six doubles and four home runs over his last 28 games.
While Ethier’s final two seasons with the Dodgers were cut short due to injuries, his impact off the field was clearly felt. He was cognizant of maintaining a positive relationship with his younger teamamtes, to which he was often praised for by the aforementioned Pederson, Cody Bellinger and Andrew Toles, among others.
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