LOS ANGELES -- Since joining the Dodgers via trade as a rookie in 2006, Andre Ethier has developed into an offensive force. The outfielder officially broke out last season with a .305 batting average, 20 home runs and 77 RBIs, and has continued to develop his skills this season. The 27-year-old leads the National League with 16 RBIs this season through 13 games while also adding a team-high four home runs.
But perhaps just as impressive as his work on the field is his work off the field as he has been one of the Dodgers' most active players in the community. His next community effort is sure to be a hit as he'll host the third annual Carne Asada Sunday on May 3 after the Dodgers play the Padres at 1:10 p.m. PT at Dodger Stadium. "There's a Mexican-American theme to it, but at the same time anyone can come out and enjoy a good carne asada barbeque," said Ethier, whose mother is of Mexican-American descent. "And also they fans will have a chance to meet some Dodgers players." The event was created two seasons ago by former Dodger Nomar Garciaparra in celebration of his Mexican-American heritage. Ethier, though, decided to keep the tradition alive because of his heritage and because he grew up in Phoenix, which has a history deeply rooted in Mexican-American culture. The event, which is sponsored by Cacique, will be held at the Loge Level Terrace immediately after the game, with Ethier there to meet with fans, who will receive an autographed picture from him as well. The event will also feature a live mariachi band from Baldwin Park's Guadalajara Grill and, of course, carne asada and beverages. Tickets for the event cost $60 with the proceeds going toward the Dodgers Dream Foundation, which was created to provide educational, athletic and recreational opportunities for the youth of the greater Los Angeles community "It's just a thing where it helps the Dodgers Dream Foundation," Ethier said. "It's just me going out there lending my time. Hopefully we can draw some fans out so they can meet me and enjoy some good food." The Dream Foundation has been instrumental in assisting more than 3,600 local youth organizations by renovating baseball fields in the community, through player appearances, and by donating more than 93,000 tickets, autographed memorabilia, donation of used equipment and much more. Ethier has been active in his involvement with the Dodgers as he was one of the team's most active community advocates in 2008. He volunteered at the Union Rescue Mission, assisted with the homeless at the Weingart Center in downtown Los Angeles and has made multiple visits to Children's Hospital Los Angeles. He also been active in the Dodgers holiday caravans the last three seasons with events such as the Dodgers' annual Turkey Giveaway as well as donating more than $2,000 worth of gifts at Best Buy for pre-selected youths to have a shopping spree during the 2008 holiday season. "It's something that is often overlooked," Ethier said of community efforts. "It's not as noticed as an athlete's work on the field. But the Dodgers make sure that we know that people appreciate when we go out and help out with work with the community. For me, it's great because it lets the fans know that I appreciate what they do. It's just about showing that I care." Tickets to Carne Asada Sunday with Ethier are on sale now and can be purchased by contacting 323-224-1507 or online.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.