The Los Angeles Dodgers have again hit a stretch where there continue to be positive updates on injured players who are hopeful to return this season. Los Angeles previously went through it with Brett Anderson, Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu, though it hasn’t yield the expected results.
With September, the last full month of the regular season, drawing near, Clayton Kershaw threw a scheduled bullpen session Saturday and is on track to increase the intensity in a second bullpen, likely to come Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
Along with Kershaw, the Dodgers are hopeful Andre Ethier will make his way off the 60-day disabled list. The veteran outfielder has yet to appear in a game this season after sustaining a fractured right tibia during Spring Training.
Ethier was initially diagnosed with a lower leg contusion, only for additional testing to reveal the spiral fracture. He was projected to miss 10 to 14 weeks from late March — a timetable that’s come and gone.
According to Andy McCullough of the LA Times, Ethier is now facing live pitching and running the bases at Camelback Ranch:
Andre Ethier has been taking at-bats against live pitching in Arizona. Dave Roberts estimated he is running at 75-percent.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) August 21, 2016
Despite Ethier’s recent progress, a date has not been set for possible rehab games. While Ethier has all of September to join the Dodgers, their Minor League affiliates conclude their regular season by the first week of next month.
Ethier participated in live batting practice last month for the first time since his injury. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts reiterated he expects the 34-year-old to return in September, but isn’t certain what role or capacity that would be in.
Ethier hit .294/.366/.486 with 20 doubles, 14 home runs, 53 RBIs, a .366 wOBA and 137 wRC+ in 142 games last season.