Ethier talks streak during visit to Fan Cave

Ethier talks streak during visit to Fan Cave

Ethier talks streak during visit to Fan Cave
NEW YORK -- Andre Ethier said Thursday he intends to resume his bid for a 30-game hitting streak Friday, when the Dodgers open against the Mets at Citi Field, calling his elbow situation manageable and enjoying a perfect day in the Big Apple, starting at MLB Fan Cave and leading up to a dinner date and "Rock of Ages" show on Broadway with his wife.

Ethier visited MLB Dream Job winner Mike O'Hara and wingman Ryan Wagner at the three-story Fan Cave in Greenwich Village, bringing along wife Maggie, former Arizona State University roommate/teammate Mark Sopko and his wife MacKenzie, and former ASU teammate and New Yorker Nick Walsh.

Ethier was a surprise scratch from the Dodgers' lineup just before Wednesday's homestand finale, because he had difficulty getting his left elbow loose while warming up. He was expected to be checked up by team doctor Neal ElAttrache during the day on Thursday.

"That's all my intention," Ethier said when asked if he would play Friday in a first meeting with Mets starter Jon Niese. "I expected to play [Wednesday]. It was just a thing where I told Donnie [manager Don Mattingly], 'I don't think I can throw.'

"I said, 'I can go up there and probably hit, it feels alright to swing after a while, but throwing was another thing.' I said, 'If you don't get mad at me for not playing the best defense.' He said, 'It would be wise if you just went out there and get the full two days off and get back at it in New York."

Ethier said he doesn't think the injury is significant.

"I think it's just a thing where [the scheduled off-day] provided me an opportunity to have an extended two days off, so basically two and a half days of not playing," said Ethier. "It's something where the stretch we had this last couple of weeks, we were 20 [games] in a row, then one day off, then ... back on. It's kind of a tough stretch and it allowed me to rest in the middle of it.

"I think with a little bit of rest these last two days it should make it feel better. You just have to deal with it. You know once the season starts, you're going to have aches and pains, and you just bite your lip and go through it and figure out a way to get it done."

Ethier said he was prepared to pinch-hit on Wednesday. Not exactly Kirk-Gibson-miracle stuff, but there could have been a unique finish to that game.

"I talked to Donnie about it, even [Wednesday] when I didn't play," Ethier said. "He said, 'Would you be available for a pinch-hit late?' I said, 'Yeah.' He said, 'You know, you have this streak going on.' I said, 'Yeah, it's going to come to an end sometime. If it's a situation or a chance where we can win the game, and if you feel I'm the best option for it, I'll gladly get out there and give it a whirl and take my chances that way.'"

In case you were wondering if Ethier is swinging one magical bat during this streak, think again. He has been a walking bat rack.

"I've used all kinds of bats," he said. "The last game on Tuesday, I used three different bats that game, and two different models. Whatever's feeling good at that time. I was talking to one of the reporters, and he said, 'Do you have any superstitions?' I said, 'No, my superstition is to be not superstitious.'

"I show up and I'll make sure I wear something different every day, I'll eat at a different place every day. My routine's the same when I show up at the field, whether it's a streak or not a streak, I do my same stuff, but I'm not taking two steps backward and trying to put on my hat a certain way. I'm making sure I don't complicate what it is, and just have fun with it and enjoy it and not put too much outside pressure on myself."

Maggie Ethier toured the Fan Cave with her husband and said she is "really proud of him, because I truly do feel like he is just enjoying it. Obviously it's going to end. It's not going to last forever. So while it is continuing, he is just enjoying it, having fun with it, and keeping it going as long as he can. As long as he can put balls in play and get a little bit lucky sometimes."

Maggie was a gymnast at Arizona State, and she said she can relate to what he is going through. They are trying to focus on some quiet time. Being "products of the '80s," she said "Rock of Ages" was something they were looking forward to, and really just "some good quality husband-and-wife time together."

"I'm probably a little anxious, because we left the kids with our parents," Maggie said. "So I'm kid-less, which I've never done before. It's scary. But it is nice, because the season is long. Not to complain, because we're extremely blessed, but at the same time it's grueling. ... Kids never get to see their daddy, and I need someone to talk to who's not a child. So it is nice for us to be able to do this once in a while."

Sopko, his roomie for three years back at ASU, called Ethier "same ol Andre."

"He is relaxed. When you talk to him about the streak, he says he goes about his business the same every day, tries not to make it a big deal. That's how it's been the whole time. He'll call his friends or text -- just the same ol' Andre, which is good, one pitch at a time."

Now on the brink of a rare 30-game streak, Ethier said he is ready to resume the chase.

"Any time you have a chance to define your name a little bit, I'd be lying if I said I don't want it to keep going on," Ethier said. "Yeah, I do. But at the same time, I'm not going to go up there and get myself out just trying to get a hit."

Ethier says he loves talking about the streak and immersing himself in it, but he taped a skit with the Fan Cave guys showing him supposedly resisting the topic at all costs. At one point, he even looks disinterested when a couple of streakers run outside past the glass-walled building.

"I had heard about it a little bit but I was unsure what it exactly is, and it's a pretty neat setup," Ethier said of the Fan Cave. "I like the idea Major League Baseball has here, which is a full dedication to baseball, and it allows people to see some of the passion that goes on in this game. It gives fans a chance to see players like myself in a different environment and have fun and visit some guys who are fans themselves."

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.