T.J. Simers’ Sunday column in the Los Angeles Times, which highlighted Andre Ethier’s struggles as he plays on a sore right knee that will require offseason surgery, created a stir in the Dodgers clubhouse and led to a meeting this afternoon between Ethier, GM Ned Colletti and manager Don Mattingly.
Ethier, who has been playing regularly while hurt, was held out of Sunday’s lineup after the meeting. His comments in Simers’ article suggested he was playing at the Dodgers’ insistance:
It’s only going to get worse from this point. I’ve dealt with it all season long, but as the season goes on my body wears down. That’s just the way it is — I keep getting put in the lineup, so what am I supposed to do?
Obviously, that didn’t go over well with Mattingly:
“I got kind of blindsided by that,” Mattingly told Steve Dilbeck of the Times. “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.”
Ethier says he’s been told playing won’t make his condition any worse, so it doesn’t sound like he’ll be shut down anytime soon. Still, one wonders if his time with the Dodgers is coming to an end. He’s been painted as a malcontent in other articles this year, with many suspecting that he yearns to play in Boston with good friend Dustin Pedroia. The Dodgers have him under control for next year, but he’ll probably make $11 million-$12 million in arbitration and he’ll be a free agent after that. They might decide to get something for him while they still can.