(Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
(Editor’s note: A more recent update regarding Andre Ethier’s injury was compiled on March 22)
Dodgers fans watching Friday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks endured a bit of a scare in the fourth inning, as fan favorite Andre Ethier fouled a ball off his right leg and was eventually carted to the clubhouse.
Ethier was facing Arizona starter Zack Godley when he ripped a foul off the inside of his right shin. He fell to the ground and wavered with pain until trainer Neil Rampe and manager Dave Roberts arrived at his side.
Ethier was able to finish the at-bat and draw a walk, but was replaced by pinch-runner Rico Noel, who advanced to second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on a throwing error by Arizona catcher Welington Castillo.
Upon exiting the game, he limped noticeably to the Dodgers’ dugout, and ultimately needed the assistance of a golf cart to make it to the center field clubhouse.
Later Friday evening, X-rays taken on Ethier’s leg came back negative, but he’ll remain day-to-day with a severe bruise.
Upon observing the incident and seeing Ethier carted off the field, Roberts was immediately concerned.
“Just to see him work every day and how he prepares himself is pretty impressive, really,” Roberts told Doug Padilla of ESPN. “And he plays the game the right way. Just seeing him work every day I have grown to appreciate what kind of player he is. Obviously, again, I’m hopeful that there is no fracture or anything like that. We’ll see what happens.”
Ethier hit leadoff on Friday for the second time in three days for the Dodgers, and may be considered one of several options to bat first when the regular season begins on April 4. In more than 1,400 career regular season games since debuting with the Dodgers in 2006, he’s hit out of every spot in the order except leadoff.
Ethier ended up going 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored on Friday. So far this spring he’s hit safely in nine of his 10 games, going 10-for-23 (.435) with a .652 OBP and a .517 slugging percentage. He also has one home run, a triple and four walks to his credit. In his two games batting leadoff, he is 2 for 4 with two walks.
The 34-year old outfielder hit .294 in 2015, the best clip since his 2008 season, and collected 54 RBIs and 13 home runs, both his highest since 2012.