Ever since T.J. Simers wrote his article about Andre Ethier, there has been a firestorm of controversy in the media, in the team and in the blogosphere. Ethier said: “Other than going into the training room every day and saying my knee hurts,” Ethier says, “and having six-inch needles stuck into it to make it feel better, I’ve told them my mechanics are messed up because of my knee. They know. “But they’ve told me, ‘Grin and bear it.'” Ned Colletti hinted that Ethier may be faking an injury: “What am I supposed to be concerned about?” General Manager Ned Colletti says. “That he has those numbers [since the All-Star break], that he’s hurt or contends he’s hurt?”
In Tony Jackson’s article, Ethier backtracked when he talked about the condition of his knee: “Ethier himself told us there was no real change, that he was still free to play through the injury if he chose and that he, and not Mattingly, had been the one who had chosen to play through it all season.”
At the end of spring training, Ethier had this to say: ”
“My salary is increasing each year. I would say the likeliness of me being here beyond this year, it’s not just my decision. … I have been kind of lucky to be in one spot in baseball for as long as I have been, for six years now. That is a long time to be in one city playing for one team. There is no inclination now other than to go out and play this year and see what we’ve got.
“If I don’t play well, we have seen them non-tender guys here. If you do play well, sometimes they don’t offer those guys arbitration because their salaries are too high.”
The obvious message Ethier was trying to get across that day was that he wasn’t feeling that the Dodgers were committed to him. Fast forward to this weekend, to another Ethier firestorm that on its face was completely unrelated to that first one, and it now sounds as though Ethier might not be all that committed to them, either.”
Steve Dilbeck reported in his L.A. Times blog “that by Sunday afternoon, a certain disconnect had developed between what Ethier told Simers and what he said before the game. This came after he met with Colletti and Mattingly in the manager’s office, and then was quickly ushered into the training room by team doctor Neal ElAttrache for another examination.”
More disturbing were the comments by Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who felt that his personal integrity had been challenged:
“I got kind of blindsided by that,” Mattingly said. “To me, the way I read it is, Dre’s been telling us he can’t play and we just said, ‘You’re playing anyway.’ That definitely isn’t the case.
“For me, that takes a shot at my integrity. … I would never do that. I would rather lose my job that put a guy out there who might hurt himself.”
In the official Dodgers MLB site, Ken Gurnick said that Ethier backed off the comments he made in Simers article: “His pointed comments in the column ignited a controversy that indicted club decision makers and infuriated teammates. But Ethier backpeddled an hour before game time, agreeing with the club that he never told officials he was too injured to play. ”
Mattingly declined to speculate on whether Ethier’s comments in the article were motivated by contractual desires or to serve as an excuse for the outfielder’s second-half slump. Instead, Mattingly said if Ethier needs surgery now, “he’s better off to get it now.”
All of this speculation about Andre Ethier has caused quite a stir. Who knows who to believe? Only time will tell how all of this will play out.
This Day in Dodgers History
August 29, 1948 – In St. Louis, Jackie Robinson hits for the cycle, drives in two runs, scores three times and steals a base helping the Dodgers to beat the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park, 12-7.