When Andre Ethier fouled a pitch off his leg during Spring Training of 2016, neither he or the Los Angeles Dodgers could have envisioned what was to come. The team initially diagnosed Ethier with a lower leg contusion.
He was expected to return after a few days. As time passed without improvement in his condition, Ethier was sent for a bone scan. It revealed a fractured right tibia that called for a recovery of 10-14 weeks.
It was not until September of last season that he came off the disabled list. Ethier didn’t make a full recovery from the complex injury until this past spring.
Injury again disrupted what was another impressive showing in Cactus League play. A herniated disc in Ethier’s lower back was projected to keep him sidelined into April. The timeline continued to slip further into the calendar, with September once more proving the date of his return.
Now the 35-year-old is attempting to again earn his way onto the Dodgers postseason roster. While the club has a void in left field, Ethier explained that’s not his focus, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“I’m still out there fighting to get fully locked in and fully ready,” Ethier said. “I’m really not concerned about October. I’m more concerned about today, and then I’m concerned about tomorrow, and how I can keep progressing and getting better each day.”
The veteran outfielder is 8-for-27 with one double, two home runs, three RBI and two walks in 17 games (six starts) since he was activated off the 60-day disabled list. Ethier’s pinch-hit home run last week helped spark a comeback win against the Washington Nationals.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has regularly lauded Ethier for his at-bat quality, which factored heavily into the decision to include him on the team’s playoff roster last year. Ethier went 2-for-6 with one home run and one walk in eight games off the bench during the 2016 postseason.
Although Roberts has said the Dodgers are not convinced Ethier is capable of filling an everyday role at this stage of his career, it’s appearing likely he again will be part of their plans for October.