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Andre Ethier returns, same as he ever was

August 29, 2011 |  6:54 pm


And on Monday, Andre Ethier was back in the lineup.

Not that everything was suddenly all peachy. Not that anything new had evolved.

"Really, we’re in the same boat we were two days ago," Manager Don Mattingly said.  "Everybody understands the situation."

Which is, Ethier has a balky knee but can and will continue to play on it. Actually, we’re assuming Ethier is on the same page he was Sunday, since he wasn’t talking Monday.

It was Sunday when the The Times’ T.J. Simers’ story broke on how Ethier was playing on a bad knee and had been told by the team to essentially suck it up. And it also inferred the Dodgers were less than convinced the knee was so bad.

Ethier was held out of Sunday’s game, had a closed-door meeting with general manager Ned Colletti and Mattingly and afterwards emerged to say he could play and that had always been his decision. Got that?

Still, his comments smacked of someone who at least wanted to shut it down this season, if not wanted out of town.

"I can’t read into comments like that," Mattingly said. "I can only go by what he tells us. In all my conversations, there’s been no comment about wanting to be done. None."

Ethier said he likely will have surgery in the off-season, so naturally many wonder why the Dodgers don’t just call it a season for him now and have the surgery.

"I’m fine with that, if that’s what everybody wants to do," Mattingly said. "It’s his choice, he wants to play. I mean, it’s always been his choice. If he felt like it was something he couldn’t play with, then we wouldn’t keep playing him. Whatever we have to do, it is what it is.

"If it makes sense to do that, and that’s what everybody wants to do, and everybody thinks that’s the right thing, then that’s what we’ll do."

Of course, players typically feel they have to prove they can play hurt and it’s just too wimpy to beg out. Player points at team, team points at player. And in this case, player keeps playing?

For now, Mattingly said the Dodgers are convinced Ethier can only irritate the knee, not actually cause greater injury.

"Right, we’re not going to do any damage," Mattingly said. "We’re not taking a shot at blowing an anterior cruciate ligament or something. It sounds like it was a cleanup type surgery. The way I understand it is, the symptoms get too bad, you have to do it. If it doesn’t get to that point, then you keep going."

Mattingly said surgery is not currently scheduled, but it is being discussed.

"It sounds like they’re talking about it, and it would be something that happens fairly quickly after the season," Mattingly said. "Unless something turns for the worse."


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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier is congratulated by Manager Don Mattingly after hitting a home run against the San Diego Padres earlier this season. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times