08/28/11 5:15 PM ET
Ethier backs off comments in column
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Ethier was quoted in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, implying that the club was forcing him to play hurt. Ethier earlier has said that the knee injury he suffered toward the end of Spring Training 2010 would need clean-up surgery after this season.
His pointed comments in the column ignited a controversy that indicted club decision makers and infuriated teammates. But Ethier backpeddled an hour before game time, agreeing with the club that he never told officials he was too injured to play.
In fact, he said he was surprised not to be playing on Sunday.
"It's always been my choice to keep playing," Ethier said.
But he said the condition -- loose particles that get caught under the kneecap -- triggers pain that results in a change of mechanics because he cannot stiffen his front leg, the likely reason for this year's significant drop in power (.411 slugging percentage vs. .491 career).
Ethier said he chose not to have surgery last offseason because he was also rehabbing a chronically sprained ankle, but he plans to have the procedure this winter. He said he's had three injections in recent weeks of Orthovisc, a joint lubricant frequently used by arthritis patients.
Meanwhile, Ethier rejected speculation that he wants to leave the organization.
"It's still a great organization. But, obviously, a lot of things need to be changed," he said. "For the team, for the fans, for what the place should be. I definitely want to be here. We were going in a great direction before the divorce [of owners Frank and Jamie McCourt]. I can't say an ownership change is warranted. Everyone knows things aren't right, we definitely agree on that. How do you make it better?"
Colletti said Ethier has not asked to be traded.
"No, just the opposite," said Colletti, who said he still hopes he can lock up Ethier, as well as MVP candidate Matt Kemp, long term.
Colletti said the controversy hasn't changed that desire, which he said was raised in recent talks with Ethier's agent, prompted by the injury. Colletti, however, insisted the club did not force Ethier to play hurt. Mattingly, in fact, took that inference personally.
"I got kind of blindsided by this," said Mattingly. "That's taking a shot at my integrity, at the organization and training staff and Ned -- and personally that I would put a guy out there that was hurt and risk his career. I'd never do that. That's not in my DNA. I'd rather lose my job than put a guy out there with the chance to hurt himself or his career in a long-term way. We knew 'Dre is banged up. But I always check with him, and he's never said he couldn't play.
"In fact, there was a day game [against Houston], and I told him in the weight room he wasn't playing -- and later he came into my office and said, 'I want to play.'"
Mattingly declined to speculate on whether Ethier's comments in the article were motivated by contractual desires or to serve as an excuse for the outfielder's second-half slump. Instead, Mattingly said if Ethier needs surgery now, "he's better off to get it now."
"He's told me he wanted to keep playing, and it's been his decision to keep playing," said Mattingly. "He never told us he can't go.
"It's pretty easy to pile on the Dodgers now. But this, to me, is off base."
Gordon begins rehab stint at Class A
LOS ANGELES -- Disabled Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon was set to begin a Minor League rehab stint on Sunday at Class A Rancho Cucamonga that has been extended to three games.
Gordon originally was scheduled for only two games. But this means he won't return until Thursday for the make up game in Pittsburgh -- and rosters will have expanded by then, so a corresponding move won't be necessary for his activation.
Mattingly would not provide an indication about callups for the Sept. 1 roster expansion, other than to say "fewer than 10." Among the players most likely to be called up -- reliever Josh Lindblom, outfielder Jerry Sands and catcher Tim Federowicz.
Jarrín to return in 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Sunday locked up another Hall of Famer for 2012, as popular Spanish-language broadcaster Jamie Jarrín agreed to return for his 54th season.
Only two days after it was announced that Vin Scully would return for the club's English broadcasts, Jarrín reached a one-year agreement.
"The Dodgers have invited me back for another season, so you will have to be by my side again," Jarrín joked with analyst Fernando Valenzuela on air during the second inning. "I love what I do. It's something I love and it brings me great joy to work alongside you and Pepe Yñiguez. I'm pleased to serve the Spanish-language community and really share baseball with them -- such a beautiful and pristine sport."
Jarrín was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998, as winner of the Ford C. Frick Award. The native of Ecuador came to the United States in 1955, and was working at radio station KWKW when the Dodgers came to Los Angeles in 1958. He re-created road games for six years, and has been traveling with the club ever since, becoming the primary voice in 1973.
From 1962-84, Jarrín called nearly 4,000 consecutive games, the streak broken when he handled the 1984 Olympic Games.
Jarrín was thrust into the international spotlight during the days of Fernandomania, serving as the interpreter for Dodgers pitching great Valenzuela, who now is a broadcasting partner in the booth -- along with Yniquez.
Among his many accolades, Jarrín received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998, and was inducted into the California Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2003. Jarrín also has called more than 30 world championship boxing bouts, 19 All-Star Games and 25 World Series. Earlier this year, he was honored by AFTRA with a Media and Entertainment Excellence Award.
Jarrín's son, Jorge, works in the Dodgers' partnerships department, and his grandson, Stefan, was drafted by the club in June as an infielder and is playing for its Arizona Rookie League team.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.