The Dodgers have announced some bad news. Andre Ethier has been diagnosed with a “mild” herniated disk in his lower back and his status for opening day is doubtful.
Ethier, who missed most of the 2016 season with a broken tibia, underwent an MRI on Monday that revealed his injury.
Ethier was given an epidural injection to relieve the pain and is will return to camp on Thursday. Manager Dave Roberts announced that Ethier will be shut down for a week to ten days. Roberts said that it will be “tough” for Ethier to be ready for opening day.
“I don’t think we’re there about even thinking of Opening Day,” said Roberts. “It depends on how he responds the next week. We’re definitely not closing that door, but it’s going to be tough.”
This brings back memories of June 30, when the Dodgers placed Clayton Kershaw on the 15-day DL with the same diagnosis. They had originally called Kershaw’s injury mild, but he missed 2 1/2 months while trying to recover.
Ethier’s injury will give more players a chance to play left field, mainly Andrew Toles. If he remains healthy, Scott Van Slyke could also be a possibility along with Brett Eibner, or top prospects Alex Verdugo and Cody Bellinger. Last year, Howie Kendrick played left field, but he was traded to the Phillies this off-season for Darnell Sweeney.
The Dodgers have a good problem, a lot of depth. This means that they have many people who can play Left Field while Ethier is away. General Manager Farhan Zaidi, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, and manager Dave Roberts have a lot of options.