Andre Ethier replacing Shane Victorino
LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, who finished second to Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino on this week's final ballot for the All-Star Game, was named on Friday to replace Victorino, whom the Phillies placed on the disabled list with a sprained thumb.
The Dodgers launched a furious get-out-the-vote campaign this week on behalf of Ethier, going as far as to send out a Twitter invitation for a small number of fans to attend a game, sit in a suite and vote non-stop for Ethier, who grew up in Phoenix, where the All-Star Game will be played on Tuesday night at Chase Field.
"Everybody did a good job,'' Ethier said. "Josh (Rawitch), the PR guy here, really stepped up his game. I guess if you push enough buttons, you get what you want.''
Ethier said he learned of his addition to the National League team while playing wiffleball in the backyard with his kids.
"I guess my wife had a text from (Dodgers team-travel director) Scott Akasaki telling her to tell me to answer my phone,'' Ethier said. "I kept (ignoring) it because we were in the middle of an intense game, squaring some balls up pretty well.''
Technically, Ethier wasn't added to the team simply because he was the second-leading vote-getter on the final ballot. Major League Baseball spokesman Michael Teevan said that when Victorino went down, it was left to National League manager Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants to choose a replacement. However, Bochy was said to strongly consider the fact that Ethier finished second on the final ballot in making his choice.
Teevan confirmed that there was no established protocol for replacing a final-ballot winner, because in the 10-year history of the final ballot, this was the first time the winner has ever had to be scratched from the All-Star Game.
Ethier is hitting .313 with seven homers, 42 RBIs and a .382 on-base percentage, but a disappointing .451 slugging percentage. He will be an All-Star for the second time, having been selected last year as a reserve by NL manager Charlie Manuel.
Meanwhile, Ethier shrugged off an SI.com report that cited several unnamed sources close to Ethier as saying he is looking to leave the Dodgers because he is disillusioned with all the ownership issues, including a bankruptcy filing by owner Frank McCourt, and that Ethier really wants to join his old Arizona State University teammate, Dustin Pedroia, in Boston.
"I think anybody would be disillusioned with (what is going on with the Dodgers),'' Ethier said. "I don't think it's a situation where I said I want to go anywhere, and I don't know who these people close to me are. The people who really are close to me remind me every day that L.A. has been great for me. From Day 1, the fans have been supportive of me, and you could see that in the way they voted for me for the All-Star Game.''
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.