Heyman: Andre Ethier has Boston on his mind

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It’s something of an old rumor, but SI.com’s Jon Heyman has stirred it back up again, saying Andre Ethier is frustrated with the Dodgers and has hopes of joining the Red Sox at some point in his career.

According to Heyman, “many people connected to the Dodgers say that Ethier is more dismayed by the financial and on-field troubles than he has publicly admitted.”

Heyman goes on to quote a “person close” to Ethier as saying:

He’s got his best buddy Dustin Pedroia telling him how great Boston is. In Andre’s mind, [the Dodgers situation] is embarrassing. And Boston has a different [vibe] right now.

Ethier isn’t a free agent until after 2012, so the Red Sox wouldn’t be able to simply sign him and plug him into J.D. Drew’s spot after the season.  Whether they’d be open to trading for him remains to be seen.  According to UZR, Ethier rates as one of the game’s worst defenders the last four years, costing the Dodgers 35 runs in the outfield.

Now that seems a little excessive, and UZR actually has Ethier as three runs above average so far this season.  Still, Ethier isn’t going to get any faster with age, and he might well be able to help a team more at first base, which is a position he couldn’t play in Boston with Adrian Gonzalez locked up.

The Red Sox have one of the game’s most difficult right fields in Fenway Park and two guys with potential in Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish as possibilities to step in during 2012, so they may sit out this chase.  However, if the Dodgers make Ethier available, there will be plenty of suitors.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.