Dodgers draft Ethier's brother
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers completed their 2010 amateur draft haul Wednesday, with a handful of eye-catching names showing up in the later rounds. One of them was Devon Ethier, an outfielder from Gateway Community College in Phoenix and the younger brother of current Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier.
The younger Ethier, who turned 20 just last week, was selected by the Dodgers in the 32nd round. He has been playing in the same wood-bat summer league in New England that his older brother was playing in when he was drafted by the Oakland A's in the second round out of Arizona State University in 2003.
"He is about every kind of opposite from me that you can be," Andre Ethier said. "He is right-handed, he is 5-11, maybe 6 feet, he is quiet and doesn't say much. He listens. He doesn't talk back. I think the medical staff and the front office will be happy to get an Ethier who doesn't give them any problems."
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Ethier said because of the large age difference (eight years), he and his brother aren't particularly close. But Ethier, who still lives in the Phoenix area during the offseason, said he gets to see his brother play five or six games a year.
"I was already playing [in college] when I was the age he is right now," Ethier said. "I went to college before he was even in high school. It was tough for us to be that close, so now it'll be nice to be part of the same organization."
In other family-related news, the Dodgers made it a full trifecta for the Wallach family of Orange County, drafting a third son of Tim Wallach, their former third baseman and the current manager of their Triple-A Albuquerque affiliate. Chad Wallach, a senior right-hander at Calvary Chapel High School in Santa Ana, was taken by the Dodgers in the 43rd round.
Wallach joins his two older brothers Matt and Brett in the organization. Matt Wallach, a catcher, was the Dodgers' 22nd-round pick in 2007 and plays at high Single-A Inland Empire. Brett Wallach, a right-handed pitcher and the top prospect of the three, was taken in the third round last year and is 4-0 with a 3.64 ERA in nine starts this season for low Single-A Great Lakes.
Those draft picks the Dodgers are able to sign immediately will report to Ogden, Utah, for workouts until the short-season affiliates begin their seasons later this month. Most of the college draftees will remain in Ogden with the Dodgers' Pioneer League affiliate there, while the high-school selections generally will be sent to the Arizona Rookie League team at the Dodgers' spring-training facility in Glendale.
Torre praises DeWitt
Dodgers manager Joe Torre said a perfect indication of just how far Blake DeWitt has come defensively in his first season as an everyday second baseman came in the fifth inning of Tuesday night's win over the St. Louis Cardinals, when DeWitt went several feet to his right and then into a full dive to take a hit away from the slow-footed Yadier Molina.
DeWitt took his time getting to his feet and throwing the ball and still got Molina easily.
"He is probably 50 percent better than he was at the start of the season, and I thought at the start of the season he had worked hard enough for us to put him out there," Torre said. "He backhanded that ball, then got up and realized who the runner was and that he had time to get the ball there."
Torre no fan of interleague
The special committee set up by commissioner Bud Selig and on which Torre sits, which was created to address various rules issues, will meet via conference call Thursday. Torre says he expects interleague play, of which he is no fan, to be discussed.
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Although there was one weekend of interleague games last month, it will begin in earnest starting Friday, and continue for much of the next 2 1/2 weeks.
"The only thing is, it has to be fair," Torre said. "I have certainly been one who initially talked about eliminating it, but then you realize that when you put all the numbers together, it brings people to the ballpark. If that is the case, I have to back off. If you're going to keep up with supply and demand, you have to bite your tongue on certain things if you want people to come to the ballpark."
One of the inherent evils of interleague play, Torre said, is that there isn't really a way to make it fair.
"Every year, you are playing different teams than somebody else in your division [is playing]," he said. "We play six times against a team [the Los Angeles Angels] that is a perennial contender in the [American League] West while somebody else gets to play the Kansas City Royals or whoever it happens to be."
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.