Andrew Friedman: Dodgers ‘Not Concerned Long-Term’ About Andre Ethier’s Back Injury
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier received some bad news this week when an MRI on his back revealed a minor herniated disc. The injury is similar to the one that caused Clayton Kershaw to miss 10 weeks last year.

Like with Kershaw, Ethier received an epidural. He’s expected to be sidelined for at least one week, and the Dodgers will then re-evaluate the veteran outfielder to determine a course of action. With under two weeks until Opening Day, that puts Ethier’s status in jeopardy.

Should he manage to make a quick recovery, Ethier in theory could log at-bats in Minor League games to get back up to speed and avoid beginning the season on the disabled list a second straight year.

While there isn’t yet much clarity, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the team is not concerned about Ethier’s long-term status, per Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:

In the at-bats he has gotten this spring, Ethier is 6-for-12, including one double, a home run, six walks and two RBIs. The last time Ethier was truly healthy he was also playing at a high level, as in 2015 he appeared 142 games and batted .294/.366/.486 with 14 home runs and 53 RBIs.

The 34-year-old saw his spring cut short last year after sustaining a fractured tibia when he fouled a pitch off. Ethier was projected to miss 10 to 14 weeks, but essentially missed the entire season.

While Friedman downplayed Ethier’s back injury, there has to be at least some level of concern given his injury history and age.

But even without Ethier, the Dodgers still have plenty of outfield depth with the likes of Trayce Thompson, Andrew Toles and Scott Van Slyke ready to assume a larger role. Though, Thompson and Van Slyke are coming off injury-shortened seasons.