His team is 12 games out of first place in the NL West, his bankrupt owner is mucking things up in court during an ongoing battle with Major League Baseball and now, his knee hurts — and he’s tired of keeping his mouth shut about it.
In a Sunday Los Angeles Times story by T.J. Simers, Ethier was quoted saying his right knee will require surgery in the offseason, and despite his discomfort and struggles at the plate, the Dodgers keep trotting him out night after night.
“It’s only going to get worst 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?”
Since the All-Star break, Ethier is hitting a dismal .222 with five doubles, one home run and seven RBI. And before sitting out Sunday’s game against Colorado, he’d only sat twice since July 5th.
So yes, he’s clearly not on his game, but Los Angeles General Manager Ned Colletti insinuated the injury may be a cover for the slump.
“What am I supposed to be concerned about?” Colletti told Simers. ”That he has those numbers (since the All-Star break), that he’s hurt or contends he’s hurt?”
Ethier did not play Sunday in a game that followed a closed-door meeting with Colletti and manager Don Mattingly. The Dodgers did call Ethier’s number to pinch hit in the ninth inning, but the game ended with Ethier in the on-deck circle.
Said Mattingly: “If he needs to have surgery, and he’s better off getting it done now, why shouldn’t he? There’s no reason not to do it. But he basically wants to keep playing.”
Ian Casselberry over at Big League Stew took a tongue-in-cheek stab at some potential trade destinations for the disgruntled outfielder if the Dodgers want to stick it to their man. Unfortunately for Ethier, the Astros, Cubs, Orioles and A’s are all experiencing worse seasons that L.A. The Blue Jays would be an interesting landing spot as they continue to stockpile young talent and currently have just three healthy outfielders on their active roster, but as Casselberry notes, artificial turf + ailing knee = not good.
Injured or not, Ethier is clearly unhappy — and can you blame him? The team is in shambles and things aren’t going to get better any time soon. If there was ever a time to shut down one of your few remaining stars, this appears to be it.