LOS ANGELES — Andre Ethier has appeared in more postseason games than anyone in Dodgers history. Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday was his 51st.Ethier, 35, might never play another game in a Dodgers uniform. The team will almost certainly decline his $17.5 million contract option for 2018. That doesn’t mean Ethier won’t be back. Even if he is paid a $2.5 million buyout, the Dodgers can always negotiate a new deal to keep him in Los Angeles for a 13th season.If Ethier does not return, his Dodgers career ended with a lasting memory. As a pinch hitter in the sixth inning of a 5-0 game, Ethier singled through the right side of the Astros’ infield to drive in the Dodgers’ only run. It was his first World Series hit at home.Related Articles Photos: Dodgers vs. Astros, World Series Game 7 Astros’ George Springer slugs his way to World Series MVP Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Yu Darvish’s World Series Game 7 start is a disaster for Dodgers Reaction to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Game 7 loss in the World Series against the Houston Astros Considering how the last two years have played out for Ethier, the ending was a fitting reward for his perseverance. Astros pounce early, top Dodgers for World Series title But in spring training the following year, Ethier fouled a ball off his leg, fracturing his tibia. He didn’t return to the field until Sept. 2016. By then he was relegated to pinch-hitting duties. Healthy again to begin the 2017 season, Ethier had a fresh opportunity to earn regular at-bats as the Dodgers’ primary left fielder. But another injury cropped up in spring training – this time a herniated disk in his back – and another season was thwarted. He did not recover until September.Video: What went wrong for the Dodgers?Ethier still found his way onto the Dodgers’ 25-man roster for all three postseason rounds. He started only two games but managed to collect four hits in 13 at-bats, including a home run in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.Now, he could enter the offseason among the key free agents the Dodgers’ front office must address.Reliever Brandon Morrow seems like the most likely to return. The right-hander forged a role as the primary set-up man to Kenley Jansen in a stalwart bullpen. Despite appearing in all seven World Series games, he was still touching 99 mph in Game 7.“I would love an opportunity to come back,” Morrow said after the game.Pitcher Tony Watson said he enjoyed his three months in Los Angeles after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline. He was one of two impact left-handers out of the bullpen in the World Series along with Tony Cingrani. He made $5.6 million in 2017.Chase Utley’s veteran presence was often cited by teammates as instrumental among the Dodgers’ core leadership group. At 38, Utley was still useful as part of a lefty/righty platoon at second base with Logan Forsythe, who can also become a free agent if the Dodgers decline his 2018 contract option.Yu Darvish could become the most coveted pitcher in a potentially weak free agent class for starting pitchers. But the right-hander didn’t help his cause by throwing only 1⅔ innings in each of his World Series starts. He was the losing pitcher in the decisive Game 7.Curtis Granderson is even more certain to hit the free agent market. The 36-year-old outfielder looked like a shell of his former self after the Dodgers acquired him in an August trade with the New York Mets. He batted .161 in 36 regular-season games as a Dodger, and was left off the World Series roster.For Ethier, returning to the Dodgers would represent more than a sentimental victory lap at the end of a long career. It would be a just reward for his perseverance, and for a key contribution in the Dodgers’ most important game of the season.“Personally, he was great to me,” rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger said. “He helped me progress this year throughout the ups and downs. I’ve got to give him a lot of credit. That was awesome.” Dodgers fan: ‘L.A. is heartbroken’ Whicker: Astros leave Dodgers offense stranded in space Miller: An appreciation for a Dodgers team that delivered everything but what mattered most ‘Houston Strong’ prevails in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series against the Dodgers’ strongest efforts Ethier did not speak to reporters after Wednesday’s game.“He’s been here for 12 years with the same team,” Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson said. “That’s extremely hard to do. Obviously he’s doing a lot of things right and has a great mentality and outlook on how to handle baseball and adversity and everything.”Ethier looked rejuvenated in 2015, when he batted .294 with 14 home runs and 53 runs batted in. His 137 OPS-plus set a career high at age 33.
INDIAN WELLS— Republican presidential candidate John McCain warned Saturday that U.S. failure in Iraq would eventually pull America into a “wider and more difficult war” in the troubled region.“To concede defeat as many leading Democrats now advocate would strengthen al-Qaida, empower Iran and other hostile powers in the Middle East, unleash a full scale civil war in Iraq … and destabilize the entire region,” the Arizona senator told activists at a state Republican convention.“The consequences would threaten us for years,” he added. It “would eventually draw us into a wider and more difficult war that would impose even greater sacrifices on us.”McCain later told reporters, “If we set a date for withdrawal, that’s a date for surrender.” McCain’s comments largely echoed his previous remarks on the war: he lashed out at Democrats, criticized earlier mistakes by civilian and military commanders; and asserted the troop increase in Iraq was succeeding.He evoked Ronald Reagan’s struggle against communism, saying the U.S. won the Cold War “on our terms.”“The war in Iraq has not gone well and the American people have grown sick and tired of it. I understand that,” McCain said. “Like you, I want our troops to come home, but I want them to come home with honor.”Also on Saturday, political fissures divided state Republicans as they faced questions about the future of a party that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says has lost its way.At the convention, a committee made only incremental headway trying to craft a new platform while some members angrily complained about being shut out or misled. And a day after Schwarzenegger declared the party had lost the political middle ground and was “dying at the box office,” state party Chairman Ron Nehring did respond directly when asked if he agreed with the governor’s assessment.“We are a big party,” Nehring told reporters, without specifically commenting on Schwarzenegger’s remarks. Nehring later added, “If any party has lost the middle ground in America, it’s the Democrats.”Schwarzenegger on Friday provided a grim assessment of his party’s standing in California, saying it needed to appeal to independents or risk being relegated to the political margins. He said the party had lost 120,000 registered voters in eight months, and more than 370,000 since 2005.Schwarzenegger, a Republican centrist, argued that the party needed to attract new voters by tackling issues with broad public appeal, like global warming. Otherwise, voters “will look elsewhere,” he said.Reaction was mixed. The speech underscored long-standing differences between Schwarzenegger and conservatives in his party, who have differed on state spending, debt and social issues.“Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Republican Party have been a marriage of convenience from the beginning,” said conservative Michael Schroeder, a former party chairman. “Nothing he expressed in his speech enjoys majority support in the Republican Party, and never will.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!