As a rule of thumb, I take anything T.J. Simers writes with a grain of salt, as at times he openly uses his section of the paper to troll players, management, fans, and whoever else he wants. However, his recently published story on Andre Ethier’s knee injury is the first I had heard of it, and the comments from both him and Ned Colletti were worrying to say the least.
|“Ask Ethier if he should still be playing on a right knee that will require off-season surgery, and he says, ‘If you’re expecting me to do what I’ve done in the past, no, there’s no possible way I can do that right now. You can say tough it out and give it your best shot, but it’s not going to happen.’
‘It’s only going to get worse 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?’”
Quite concerning, right? Arguably though, Colletti’s comments are even worse.
|“‘What am I supposed to be concerned about?’ General Manager Ned Colletti says. ‘That he has those numbers [since the All-Star break], that he’s hurt or contends he’s hurt?’”
“Ask Colletti if Ethier poor performance works to the Dodgers’ advantage, and he says, ‘maybe a touch,’ before going on to say, ‘Ethier’s consistency is far greater than six weeks.’”
Now I don’t honestly believe the Dodgers are forcing him to play to save fractions of millions like Simers implies, but the miscommunication between Colletti and Ethier is still an issue that deserves to be addressed.
|“‘The way it’s gone around here,’ Ethier says, ‘the only thing that is certain — is the uncertainty.’”
“‘Other than going into the training room every day and saying my knee hurts,’ Ethier says, ‘and having six-inch needles stuck into it to make it feel better, I’ve told them my mechanics are messed up because of my knee. They know. But they’ve told me, ‘grin and bear it.””
Communication problems seem to be common within the organization, for whatever reason. The training staff has a rather poor track record of keeping players on the field (probably not helping if they are instructing players to play hurt), and Colletti has criticized Kemp, Kershaw, Billingsley, and others in the past.
As many pointed out to me on Twitter yesterday, this injury could explain Ethier’s rapid drop in power, but I think it raises a far more disturbing issue that a player believes he’s injured to the extent where he can no longer perform and needs surgery but the training staff and upper management blows it off as questionable.
I’m sure comments on this issue will be made in the coming days by both Ethier and the organization with attempts to clarify the situation, and I hope it does get resolved, because as it currently stands, it’s another black mark on an organization that’s already drowning in them.