Another bad moment during batting practice

What is it about batting practice on the West Coast?

On the heels of the Braves' Roger McDowell's boorish behavior toward fans watching batting practice at San Francisco's Candlestick Park last month, comes word that the Dodgers' Andre Ethier may have been rude toward a photographer.

Ethier, who in his five years with the club has had pretty good press, flipped off the photographer - with both hands - during batting practice at Dodger Stadium before Monday's game against the Brewers. The photog got the shot, which quickly made its way to the Internet.

On Thursday, Ethier explained that he had repeatedly tried to get the photographer, who was behind the batting cage, to stop taking pictures because it was messing with his practice.

"I just got kind of annoyed, so to that extent I guess I slipped up and that temper you guys like to write about got ahead of me," Ethier said.

"I didn't use my head or use the best judgment in that situation. Sometimes you make a mistake and it's unfortunate," he explained. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the team would deal with the matter. "We don't condone it, but we'll handle it," Mattingly said of his star, who's batting .318, with four home runs and 21 RBIs.

Too late.

On Friday, MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said they were looking into the matter. "We're talking to the people involved in the incident," he said.

More Dodger blues

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig on Friday called the Dodgers' turbulent ownership situation "historic," and acknowledged that baseball has stepped in to help financially troubled teams in the past.

But for now, Selig dodged speculation that MLB will have to help the club meet payroll this month.

"We've moved in other places," was his sphinx-like answer. "This is historic. But I don't really have anything else to say."

Selig reassured Dodgers fans concerned about the state of the club, saying that MLB is doing what's necessary to provide stability until a long-term solution is found. But the he added this piece of cold comfort:

"We've done what we have to do up to this point, and there's no other comment," Selig said.