GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Andre Ethier checked into Dodgers Spring Training camp Saturday, ready to work on his free-agent season, if not talk about it.
"I can't tell you what will happen with that," Ethier said when asked about the possibility of signing a contract extension after the Dodgers are sold at the end of April. "The only thing I can change is the way I play. Today is today, and that's all I can handle. I'm here to play for today."
Ethier is returning from a second consecutive season marred by injury. In 2010, his spectacular start was undermined by a broken little finger that robbed him of power. He played through most of 2011 with a knee injury that diminished his power before ultimately submitting to September cleanup surgery.
A two-time All-Star, his home run totals have gone from 31 to 23 to 11, while his average has been .292 the last two years.
Eligible for salary arbitration for the final time this month, he instead agreed to a one-year deal for $10.95 million (he made $9.25 million last year) after talks for a multiyear deal broke down, while rich extensions went to MVP runner-up Matt Kemp (eight years, $160 million) and Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw (two years, $19 million). General manager Ned Colletti said last week he'd still like to get an extension done with the right fielder.
When pressed about his curt answers, Ethier said:
"It's just the way I'm going to approach the game. I can't control things in the past or in the future, I can only prepare for the future by focusing on today. Every day I'll come in here to get better, to help my teammates do better. That's my main goal going forward. I'm not looking ahead. Head down and focus on today."
Ethier said he has been doing all baseball activities and offered no indication of any trouble with his repaired right knee. But he bristled when asked if he felt the 2012 season was a chance for redemption.
"Not at all," he said. "Just winning games, that's what it's all about. We've had an awful last couple of years and it's not fun. We've got to get back to a winning team."