Dodgers News: Andre Ethier Expected To Be At Full Strength By Spring Training
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers rookie manager Dave Roberts envisioned Andre Ethier playing a significant role in 2016 by the middle of Spring Training. First, in an unsurprising decision, Roberts named Ethier the starter in left field over Carl Crawford come the regular season.

Less than two weeks after publicly announcing that decision, Roberts identified Ethier as one of the club’s options to bat leadoff. It came as a surprise, given Ethier’s age — he turned 34 years old in April — and lack of experience in that role.

But Roberts was confident Ethier could provide the at-bat quality necessitated from the top spot in the lineup. Then a foul ball not only washed away Roberts’ best-laid plans, but also threw Ethier’s season off-kilter.

Initially diagnosed as lower leg contusion, a follow-up exam the veteran outfielder sustained a fractured right tibia. An eight-to-12-week timetable was set.

Days, weeks and months passed without much progress to speak of. Ethier didn’t come off the 60-day disabled list until Sept. 10. He appeared in just 16 games, making three starts. Roberts acknowledged the longest-tenured Dodger was not completely healthy.

According to Ken Gurnick of, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said Ethier is expected to be fully recovered by Spring Training:

“[The recovery] was slow in the sense we wanted him to be 100 percent by the end of the season, and our usage of him was still a little governed by the end of the year and we tried to keep him to pinch-hitting and limit his time in the field,” Zaidi said. “We expect him to be 100 percent by Spring Training.”

Despite going 5-for-24 with one double, one home run, two RBI and six strikeouts during limited opportunities, Ethier was included on the Dodgers National League Division Series and NL Championship Series rosters.

He went 2-for-6 in eight games this postseason, appearing in each game off the bench. Ethier did set up Chase Utley’s go-ahead RBI single in Game 4 of the NLDS by reaching on a two-out base hit. Then in Game 1 of the NLCS he hit a pinch-hit, solo home run off Chicago Cubs’ righty Kyle Hendricks.

Ethier was the subject of trade rumors prior to the 2016 season, though in April he earned a no-trade clause by virtue of becoming a player with 10-and-5 rights (10 years of Major League service time, including the last five with the same club).

In 2015 he batted .294/.366/.486 with 14 home runs, 20 doubles, 53 RBI, had a .366 wOBA and 137 wRC+ over 142 games while filling in for an injured Yasiel Puig.

Ethier is owed $17.5 million in 2017, and his contract includes $17.5 million club option in 2018 with a $2.5 million buyout. If he’s with the club next season it may again be as part of a crowded outfield.