The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Andre Ethier suffered a right tibia fracture after fouling a ball off his shin last week. Surgery won’t be needed, but Ethier is expected to miss 10 to 14 weeks.
Ethier’s initial reaction to fouling a pitch off his right shin last Friday was more than enough reason to be concerned. The veteran outfielder dropped to the ground in a heap of pain and took several minutes before reentering the batter’s box.
Dodgers head athletic trainer Neil Rampe and manager Dave Roberts checked on Ethier, who ultimately drew a walk and gingerly made his way down the first base line. Ethier then limped to the dugout as he was lifted for pinch-runner Rico Noel.
Ethier was later carted to the clubhouse at Salt River Fields and taken for x-rays. They came back negative, and the Dodgers listed the soon-to-be-34-year-old as day-to-day with a lower leg contusion.
On Saturday, Ethier entered the Dodgers clubhouse at Camelback Ranch on crutches and unable to put much, if any, weight on his right leg. At the time, he took some solace in the fact there was minimal swelling.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Ethier would return after a few days and responded, “absolutely” when asked if he expected the veteran outfielder to be available for Opening Day in San Diego on April 4.
However, as the pain persisted and Ethier remained unable to put pressure on his leg, the Dodgers elected to have a bone scan done, which revealed the fracture.
Ethier batted .294/.366/.486 with 14 home runs, 20 doubles, 53 RBIs, had a .366 wOBA and 137 wRC+ over 142 games last season. In 10 Spring Training games, he hit .435/.517/.652 (10-for-23) with one home run, one triple, five walks and four RBIs.
With Ethier to spend some time on the disabled list, it creates an opportunity for Carl Crawford. He was told recently Ethier was to be the Dodgers’ starting left fielder come the regular season.
Crawford was forced to the 60-day disabled list last season due to a torn oblique. He managed to play in just 69 games and batted .265/.304/.403 with four home runs, 16 RBIs, a .305 wOBA and 95 wRC+. Trayce Thompson, who has played all three outfield positions this spring, presumably enters the picture as well.