In recent weeks Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has maintained an expectation — perhaps better identified as hope — Andre Ethier would return this season from a tibia fracture sustained in Spring Training.
After an initial diagnosis of a lower leg contusion, follow-up examinations revealed the spiral fracture in Ethier’s right leg. He was projected to miss 10 to 14 weeks; a timetable that Ethier has since surpassed.
But, the veteran outfielder appears to have made significant progress in what’s been an arduous recovery. “About 10 days ago the medical staff reached out to me and said Dre turned a corner,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday.
“Felt really good recovering and doing weight-bearing jogging. We’re looking forward to activating him some time in September.”
Prior to being reinstated from the 60-day disabled list Ethier will be sent out on a rehab assignment. The Dodgers have discussed scenarios, Roberts said, but a specific plan or target start date have not yet been set.
Ethier participated in live batting practice in late July for the first time since his injury. More recently he was said to be facing live pitching and running the bases at Camelback Ranch.
While the 34-year-old is on track for a return, it doesn’t necessarily equate to a clean bill of health. “It’s improved,” Roberts said of Ethier’s fracture. “Will he be 100 percent when he’s active? I don’t know the answer to that.”
The rookie manager nonetheless believes adding Ethier to the pitcher will give the Dodgers a boost. “Andre is part of the nucleus of this club. He’s a proven, consistent performer, and he gets along with everyone.”