T.J. Simers: Andre Ethier “selfish” and “counterproductive”

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Well, that’s not nice. Here’s the full quote from T.J. Simers of the L.A. Times:

Mattingly’s critical comments of the team and Ethier came a day after being assured by Colletti that he had management’s support.

I’ve been writing it for years: Ethier is the most selfish athlete in town and counterproductive to a team’s achieving success.

I thought the Dodgers’ off-season should have begun by trading Ethier, but that’s something for Colletti to explain later.

Andre Ethier, entering tonight with a .264/.353/.405 line, was benched for Wednesday’s game against the Brewers despite not really being in a slump of any kind. It was the third time in the team’s previous six games that Ethier was not starting. Manager Don Mattingly implied Ethier wasn’t mentally tough. ESPN’s Mark Saxon tweets that Ethier hadn’t talked to manager Don Mattingly about the situation but is still stung by the criticism.

Ethier signed a five-year, $85 million extension with the Dodgers on June 12 last year, but has become the team’s whipping boy. The Dodgers opened the season with a $217 million payroll but sit in last place in the NL West at 19-26, thanks in part to a barrage of injuries. Placing the blame on Ethier, who is actually having a decent season thus far (.758 OPS), seems misguided.

The media, including Simers, don’t like Ethier because he’s emotional and abrasive at times, but that has nothing to do with his performance on the field. There are plenty of teams who would be happy to bring Ethier, so-called problems and all, aboard if the Dodgers are willing to take responsibility for a large portion of his remaining contract.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.