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Andre Ethier expects chance to win starting outfield spot

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier met with Dodgers management on Monday with a chance to "clear the air" over his offseason comments about wanting to play every day and fighting for a job this spring.

"It was just a chance for all four of us to clear the air, seeing where each one of us stand, to get what we had off our chest," Ethier said.

Ethier started just 10 of the final 60 games in 2014, and had career lows across the board in his production. He said during the offseason he wanted to play every day and reiterated that on Monday, in a meeting with manager Don Mattingly, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi.

"It was just the start of communication, making sure we were all on the same page, giving Andre the chance to give his point of view," Mattingly said. "The fact that Andre wants to play every day is pretty clear."

With 19 new players on the 40-man roster since the end of last season, the Dodgers have seen quite a turnover of their roster. But that Ethier is still around gives him confidence that he will be given a chance to win an everyday role this spring, something Mattingly has said he will get.

"Friedman, Donnie, Farhan and all those guys understand what I said and where I'm coming from, and the intentions. With me still being here, I have to assume they're at least considering it," Ethier said. "This is a big decision coming up for the year, but they have had a lot of big decisions to make all winter. This is just a small facet of what has to be done for this team."

Another reason Ethier is still on the roster is that the team found no takers for his three years and $56 million remaining on his contract.

Mattingly said he expects Ethier to play all three outfield positions this spring in preparation for the season, and might see time at first base as well.

"The biggest thing in leaving camp you want to make sure people are comfortable, especially ones playing multiple spots," Mattingly said. "Anywhere you put him on the baseball field, I'm pretty confident. He's a guy with a big baseball IQ, gets good reads."

Mattingly said on Monday he doesn't expect Ethier to be a problem, and that he expects him to handle whatever role he has like a professional. On Tuesday, Mattingly felt it was too early to speculate on what might happen if Ethier doesn't win a starting spot.

"I'm not even trying to go there. We don't know what's going to happen over the next four to six weeks," Mattingly said. "We'll evaluate and go from there."

Ethier said he didn't change his offseason heading into his 10th spring training with the Dodgers, though this time he is fighting for a job.

"I don't think the approach has changed for me, going into every spring. It starts in the offseason, just doing everything to get my body in shape and get in a position to come here to do the work that's asked of you in spring," Ethier said. "There's so much that has to come before the season.

"I hope they understand my intentions, that I'm not overstepping my boundaries in doing that. I'm just being honest."