Free-agent outfielder Andre Ethier has denied a report stating that he was planning to retire.
Ethier told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that a report from FanRag Sports' Robert Murray stating he planned to call it a career is "totally untrue." Ethier added that his back is healthy and he's preparing to play next season.
Injuries limited Ethier to 38 games between 2016 and 2017, but the Orange County Register's Bill Plunkett reported in September the 35-year-old planned to return in 2018:
"Ethier says he feels healthy and strong, nothing more than the normal soreness a 35-year-old has the day after a game. And he unquestionably believes there is more baseball left in his body despite the setbacks of the past two years.
"'Oh, 100 percent. I believed that last year when I came back,' Ethier says. 'Whether more baseball is this month or until the end of October, I don’t know.'"
It's easy to forget after the last two years how productive Ethier was offensively in his prime. A two-time All-Star, he batted .286 and slugged .464 between 2006 and 2015, according to Baseball Reference. He also averaged 16 home runs and 68 RBI a year during that span.
Were Ethier to continue playing next year, he'd be an especially good fit for an American League team.
Defense has never been Ethier's speciality. He has a minus-34.1 ultimate zone rating in the outfield over his career, per FanGraphs. Between his age and injury history, Ethier would work best as a designated hitter, which would simultaneously hide his defensive flaws and limit his physical workload.