I know this thread says "Ethier/Kemp," but since this directly affects the Ethier/Pierre battle, I thought it'd be appropriate here. Found this article on the Dodgers' website and there's a link to the fan forum with some interesting discussion on the situation.
"SPRING REPORT / KANSAS CITY 10, DODGERS 9
Ethier believes he should start for Dodgers
Richard Hartog / LAT
Andre Ethier hit his sixth home run of the spring, tops on Dodgers.
Outfielder has had a productive spring and now must wait to see what Torre decides for his outfield spots.
By Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 25, 2008
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Joe Torre calls it the toughest decision he has faced all spring. And he may not have it resolved until Monday morning, when he makes out his opening-day lineup.
"Then I'm going to have to write somebody's name down," he said.
At issue is who will start in the Dodgers' outfield, specifically left field, alongside center fielder Andruw Jones and right fielder Matt Kemp.
Andre Ethier says he believes he has done all he can to make Torre's pick a no-brainer, reaching base four times, hitting his National League-leading sixth home run of the spring and raising his batting average to .359 in the Dodgers' 10-9 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Monday.
"It's kind of funny," Ethier said with a smile. "Everyone says 'Let's wait and see what happens in spring training.' But at the same time, some people come back and say 'Well, it's only spring training.'
"I was told to come into spring training and show what I've got. And I did what I was asked. It's management's choice who they're going to put out there."
Ethier's competition for the job, veteran Juan Pierre, is batting .188 with a .253 on-base percentage after reaching base only once in his last 12 at-bats. But Pierre has an established track record, having averaged more than 200 hits, 95 runs and 57 stolen bases over the last five seasons.
But Ethier, 25, has more power, a better arm and will drive in more runs, tools that would make him more valuable off the bench. And that fact, ironically, could wind up costing him the starting job.
"They bring different things to the table," Torre said. "Obviously, Pierre is that guy who's going to put the ball in play. He's going to be a threat on the basepaths."
Torre asked the players to be patient as he searches for a solution, but it hasn't been easy. Monday, Pierre slumped, head down, in front of his locker long after the rest of the team had taken the field. Coaches Bob Schaefer and Larry Bowa went into the clubhouse to talk to Pierre while Torre had a 14-minute talk with Pierre in the outfield during batting practice, then kept him on the bench.
"It's a tough part for the three of us to be in right now," Ethier said.
In addition to Ethier, Rafael Furcal also homered in support of Hideki Kuroda, who gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
But the bullpen faltered behind him with Joe Beimel, Ramon Troncoso and Mike Myers giving up six runs in the span of two outs."http://www.forums.mlb.com/n/pfx/forum.a ... &tid=89025