While the Dodgers survived the first three weeks of spring camp without any significant harm, a few potentially notable injuries occurred during the early days of March, three of which came to light in Monday’s contest against the Rockies.
Veteran outfielder Andre Ethier left the game in the top of the third inning on Monday after complaining of tightness in his lower back. The 34-year-old Phoenix native originally hit leadoff and started the game in left field, but was replaced by outfielder Brett Eibner just after he was seen walking to the clubhouse beyond the center field wall.
Ethier told reporters that the soreness wasn’t anything major, and that he removed himself from the game as a precautionary measure. Skipper Dave Roberts confirmed Ethier’s sentiments.
“I just wanted to get him out of the game,” Roberts said.
On Tuesday morning, Ethier did his normal stretching and took swings in the cage, feeling no lingering effects in his back. Roberts called the diagnosis a “back spasm,” and said that Ethier will be somewhat limited in his baseball activities over the next day or so.
In the bottom of that same inning, minor league outfielder Henry Ramos also exited the game with an apparent right groin strain. The injury evidently occurred when Ramos burst out of the batters box on his way to first base after grounding to the pitcher in the top of the same frame.
Ramos has seen considerable playing time all over the outfield over the first several weeks of camp after being signed by the Dodgers as a free agent last November. TBPC put together a concise profile surrounding the 24-year-old native of Puerto Rico last week.
Yet perhaps the most noteworthy setback occurred on Monday in the top of the second inning when southpaw starter Scott Kazmir was removed from the game just one pitch into the frame with tightness in his left hip.
“I didn’t know about it until after that first inning,” Roberts said. “Obviously he felt good enough to start the game. He sort of wanted to keep going, but it didn’t make much sense to us.”
Kazmir later revealed that he felt the discomfort before the game began.
“He thought it was going to loosen up, but it just stayed the same,” Roberts explained.
While it’s still too early to guess if Kazmir will be shut down for any specific amount of time, the veteran lefty told reporters on Tuesday that his hip felt better, although he was still scheduled to meet with trainers later in the day for a followup exam.
In other injury-related news, shortstop Corey Seager, who has been out of action since last week after fouling a ball off his shin, is now dealing with apparent back soreness. Seager is slated to miss Tuesday and Wednesday’s games as well, trying to utilize Thursday’s off day for even more rest.
“All I know is that every day he’s gotten better,” Roberts said. “Realistically, we’re going to get him through the off day, and we’ll see about that game Friday.”
In addition, rookie outfielder Andrew Toles has missed the last four games with a hyperextension in his knee, but it isn’t believed to be anything major. Trainers said on Tuesday that Tolesy is expected to be back in the lineup later in the week.