(Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
The injury department became much worse for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday afternoon when a follow-up CT scan of outfielder Andre Ethier‘s right leg revealed a fractured tibia.
Ethier is expected to spend up to 14 weeks on the disabled list. No surgery will be needed.
He was originally diagnosed with a severely bruised shin when initial X-Rays came back negative last Friday, but was sent back to the hospital for a bone scan after pain continued and showed no improvement after three days of walking with crutches.
The Dodgers’ outfielder was facing Arizona starter Zack Godley in the fourth inning of Friday’s Cactus League game 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.
He was able to finish the at-bat and draw a walk, but was replaced on first base by pinch-runner Rico Noel. Upon exiting the game, Ethier limped noticeably to the Dodgers’ dugout, and ultimately needed the assistance of a golf cart to make it to the center field clubhouse.
Roberts said Ethier was very frustrated upon hearing the diagnosis, and decided to send the outfielder home for several days to spend time with family.
In statement to the media, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman reiterated that the Dodgers have plenty of capable players on the depth chart who are ready to step in where needed.
“We talk a lot about depth in the offseason and it falls on deaf ears and it’s not necessarily something that manifests itself until halfway through the season. Unfortunately we tapped into it a little earlier,” Friedman stated. “That said, we’re excited about the guys we have on hand.”
Roberts also said that Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke would get the majority of playing time in left field, but wouldn’t comment specifically as to who would receive Ethier’s roster spot. Roberts did mention Trayce Thompson as a possibility, also adding that Alex Guerrero would be discussed about potentially providing additional cover in the outfield.
“We’re working Trayce in there to see how our roster shakes out,” Roberts told Eric Stephen of True Blue LA. “I don’t think Trayce’s numbers have shown it this spring, but he’s done a lot of good things.The way he’s swinging the bat, the hard contact, seeing good pitching. He’s not punching out a whole bunch.”
As Ethier was being considered as an option to bat leadoff against right-handed pitchers, Roberts said that Crawford wouldn’t necessarily hit first, mentioning that depending on pitching matchups, he may be a better fit in the two, six or seven holes.
Over the course of the spring, Ethier hit safely in nine of 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 was two-for-four with two walks.
The 34-year old outfielder hit .294 during the 2015 regular season, the best clip since his 2008 season, and collected 54 RBIs and 13 home runs, both his highest since 2012.
The Dodgers have been hit hard by injuries recently, with Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-jin Ryu, Brett Anderson, Frankie Montas and now Ethier all set to begin the season on the disabled list.
Van Slyke, Guerrero, Corey Seager, Mike Bolsinger, Brandon Beachy, Yasmani Grandal, Howie Kendrick and Alex Wood also have been bothered by numerous ailments at some point during camp.
25-man rosters must be submitted to MLB the morning of April 3.
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