Dodgers' Andre Ethier tries to make talk about lefties right

When asked about his benching against a left-hander in San Diego with eight games left, Ethier appears on edge. Later he apologizes and says he just wants to win, and makes amends with two-run homer.

There's no quit here, although I can only imagine how many folks wish I was on the verge of elimination.

Before Monday's all-important Dodger game, I go to the clubhouse to remind Andre Ethier how important he is to the team.

It's a discussion that will initially go awry before there's talk of maybe a double date later.

It's been bugging me for days that Don Mattingly benched Ethier in San Diego with eight games left. I want to know whether Ethier tore into Mattingly and demanded to play.

Would the Lakers' bench Pau Gasol while trying to earn a playoff berth because he can't hold his own against tougher big men?

We know Ethier can't hit left-handers and San Diego was pitching a left-hander.

But I expect a player of Ethier's caliber and Dodgers status to dig deeper and somehow find a way to hit a left-hander with everything on the line.

I will expect Dwight Howard to do the same when shooting free throws in a playoff game.

I expected Ethier to give Mattingly an earful.

Ethier tells me Mattingly's door was closed.

I was in San Diego but I don't recall the door being knocked off its hinges or kicked in.

Ethier says Mattingly's door was closed for two hours the day after General Manager Ned Colletti could be heard screaming in the clubhouse.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn Mattingly was wearing ear plugs while locking himself behind closed doors to avoid another Colletti outburst.

But I know the Dodgers haven't lost since they caught a whiff of Colletti's passion or just don't want to hear him scream again.

Ethier says he waits and waits and finally catches Mattingly near the batting cage. He tells Mattingly he wants to play.

That's all I want to hear. I now know he cares as much as the fans do about doing whatever it takes to win, even if it means swinging and missing against a lefty.

But then just like that the interview with Ethier spins out of control. Ethier says it's a media-made story that has the Dodgers worried about him not hitting left-handers.

I'm not the one who benched him in San Diego.

In fact I'm here telling him he's a great player and I think it is crazy the Dodgers didn't play him in San Diego and yet he's peeved at me.