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.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman not considering demoting struggling Greg Bird

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Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.

GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”

Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.

Chris Archer threw behind Jose Bautista

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Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.

Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.

The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.