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Dodgers Web musings: Andre Ethier controversy won't die

August 29, 2011 |  1:52 pm

In their ongoing exasperation contest, the Dodgers have taken a slight lead, but don’t count Andre Ethier out just yet.

This doesn’t figure to just go away, even if the Dodgers and Ethier agree it’s probably best at this point to simply shut him down, have the knee surgery and start focusing on next season.

Ethier is one of the Dodgers' most talented and charismatic players -– on a team in short supply of both -– but he’s also oddly insecure and often emotional. And his telling The Times’ T.J. Simers that he’s been playing with an injured knee and that the team has told him to battle through it, naturally inspired all kinds of reactions.

By Sunday, of course, he had backed off some, telling a handful of reporters that the decision to play was his and that he wanted to keep playing.

ESPN/LA’s Tony Jackson has an excellent overview of the latest Ethier commotion and theorizes that Ethier is simply trying to become enough of a distraction that the Dodgers elect to non-tender him this off-season, bringing him free agency a year early.

That would be giving up one of their best players -– at least when healthy -– and receiving nothing in return. Hard for me to fathom, particularly on a team already suffering from a dearth of talent.

And between his injured knee and disappointing second half numbers, he’s hardly set himself up for that mega contract.

What happens in the short term? Ethier apparently –- at least on Sunday -– said he wants to keep playing, though his public comments have left the Dodgers in something of a spot.

Which means even after Sunday’s game, puzzled Manager Don Mattingly was uncertain whether he would start him Monday against the Padres.

"If he says his knee’s hurting and this and that, and we put him out there and he blows a hammy or hurts something else, now we're kind of boxed in to really having a lot of trouble using him," Mattingly said. "So we're going to talk about it and just go from there."

More Ethier reaction on the Web:

-- The Register’s Howard Cole thinks Ethier is being a "bonehead''  –- if a calculated one -- but the Dodgers at least have to keep him for next season, when he will be especially motivated to have a big season in his walk year.

--’s Ken Gurnick said Ethier simply backed off his comments to Simers.

-- Chad Moriyama, on his new site cleverly named, thinks Ethier should simply have the surgery now. (To clarify one aspect: Ethier’s knee had been examined by the Dodgers prior to Sunday; Mattingly said he believed it included an MRI.)

-- Mike Petriello of MikeSciosciasTragicIllness, also sees no reason to put off the surgery and fears playing on it may make it worse.

-- ESPN/LA’s Jon Weisman thinks it goes back to the code of players having to play through injury, which has left both Ethier and the team pointing at each other.

And in another couple of non-Ethier posts:

-- Fox Sports’ Joe McDonnell has the story of Lorri Benson, a blind woman scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch Monday at Dodger Stadium, and her connection to General Manager Ned Colletti.

--  Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown salutes the return of Vin Scully next season.

-- And here is the Fox video of Scully’s announcement:


-- Steve Dilbeck