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Dodgers Web Musings: A stumble by Andre Ethier as leader of the pack

March 10, 2011 | 11:56 am

You know, this leadership thing is a tough gig. No instruction manual, no former leader hanging around to offer tips.

As mentioned previously, the Dodgers were devoid of clubhouse leadership last year. The year before too, really. The last time they had a true leader was in 2008, in the curious though effective form of Manny Ramirez.

It’s hard to just be that guy, though I’m pretty sure bringing a chicken into the clubhouse isn’t a big step. Andre Ethier is as good a candidate as any to step up as a team leader, and he told The Times’ Dylan Hernandez earlier in the spring that he was ready for the challenge.

That story angle has been picked up by several news outlets, including recently by veteran baseball scribe Tracy Ringolsby at Fox Sports. Then there was Wednesday’s little miscue.

Ethier was supposed to start in right field. His name was in the lineup. Manager Don Mattingly said he had spoken to Ethier about starting on a third consecutive day.

But when it came time to stretch out on the field before the game, no Ethier. He was in the weight room, apparently unaware he was in the lineup. Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick said the Dodgers didn’t want to then rush him into the game without stretching, so Gabe Kapler started in right.

"I don't know what happened. He didn't read the card," said Mattingly.

Not a big deal, though as ESPN/LA’s Jon Weisman noted, there might have been a different reaction if it had been Matt Kemp. Still, that’s a wrong little step forward for a guy willing to assume the leadership mantle?

Also on the Web:

-- Blue Heaven’s Ernest Reyes has dug up a classic video of Kirk Gibson in his "Civilized Man" ad for Right Guard circa 1989. It’s the hilarious one when he’s in the bathtub.

-- Baseball Savvy’s Howard Cole has two more insightful interviews with bloggers. Well, at least one is a blogger -- Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness. In the second he varies slightly to talk to Dodgers’ postgame radio talk show host Josh Suchon.

-- Dodgers.com’s Gurnick said pitching prospect Rubby De La Rosa is battling shoulder tenderness, which he’s had to work through in the past.

-- ESPN/LA’s Tony Jackson
profiles phenom Dee Gordon, the Dodgers’ presumed shortstop of their future.

-- Vin Scully Is My Homeboy’s Roberto Baly
questions the wisdom of baseball players playing basketball in lieu of the injury to Zack Greinke and has video of Kemp playing in a charity game at Westchester High School in December 2009.

-- Fox Sports' Joe McDonnell, he of local radio fame, takes a look at the rebound of closer Jonathan Broxton.

-- The Dodgers have added a split-squad game Sunday in Las Vegas against the Cubs. It will be their second consecutive year playing an exhibition game, and sixth overall, at Cashman Field, the former home to their triple-A club.

-- Steve Dilbeck

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