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All Quiet on the Ethier Front

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As the dust has started to settle on the Andre Ethier Fallout II, the organization has been very tight-lipped. I tried to talk with head trainer Stan Conte to get the specifics of Ethier’s knee injury. Usually very forthcoming about players’ injuries, Conte told me, “I don’t know if I can say much about Ethier.”

I just wanted to know if they had any indications as to the severity of Ethier’s knee. “I think we decided as an organization that Donnie’s going to speak to it as one voice.”

Manager Don Mattingly has Ethier batting fifth in the lineup in Monday night’s game against the San Diego Padres. Apparently the knees aren’t as big an issue as we were led to believe.

“To me we’re in the same boat as we were two days ago,” Mattingly said. “Everybody understands the situation, and he’s playing.”

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Mattingly said Ethier was going to have arthroscopic surgery soon after the season ends to clean out the knee. Until then Mattingly will play Ethier as he normally would unless something “catastrophic” occurs.

“We’re not going to any damage. We’re not taking a shot at blowing an anterior cruciate ligament. It sounds like it’s a clean-up type surgery. The way I understand it, it’s dealing with the symptoms. If the symptoms get too bad, then you got to do it. If the symptoms don’t get to that point, you keep going.”

The question remains that if there is clearly a problem with his knees that requires surgery, as negligible as it may be, why not opt to get the surgery now?

“I’m fine with that if that’s what everyone wants to do,” Mattingly said. “It’s always been [Ethier’s] 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 it’s the right thing, that’s what we’ll do.”

ESPN LA’s Tony Jackson wrote yesterday that this is Ethier’s way of trying to leave the Dodgers. But here’s this.

Let’s say the Dodgers wise up and decide not to non-tender Ethier and go to arbitration. If Ethier’s numbers continue to go down, the Dodgers would stand to pay less. And with former assistant General Manager Kim Ng, AKA the arbitration ninja warrior, no longer with the team, the Dodgers would probably want all the help they can get.

Ethier, naturally, won’t say anything.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Ethier said curtly. Of course not.

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