To prepare himself to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday, Andre Ethier played two games with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga earlier in the week.

Ethier, who was sidelined with a strained rib-cage muscle, returned from his two-day tour of the California League in a reflective mood.

Of playing in the major leagues, Ethier said, "You just realize how much of a privilege it is. You earn it, you do, but it's still a big-time privilege to play up here."

Ethier played in the California League in 2004. He was a prospect in the Oakland Athletics farm system at the time.

"You don't realize how close you really are," Ethier said.

One month into the 2006 season, the Dodgers called him up to the major leagues for the first time. He said he tried to emphasize that point to the minor leaguers to whom he spoke.

"Some guys on that team are 160 games away from possibly being in the big leagues," Ethier said. "I can only tell them so much because I didn't believe it when I was going through it. Who knows what guys from that team will be helping this team out in two or three years?"