Dodgers News: Andre Ethier ‘Optimistic’ He’ll Contribute In 2016
Dodgers News: Andre Ethier ‘optimistic’ He’ll Contribute In 2016
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The warning signs were there when Andre Ethier fouled a ball off his right shin during a March 18 Cactus League game. Ethier immediately dropped to the ground in considerable pain, and hobbled to the dugout after ending the plate appearance with a walk.

While X-rays came back negative and Ethier was diagnosed with a lower leg contusion, minimal to no improvement in the days that followed led to additional testing. It was then revealed the veteran outfielder sustained a fractured right tibia that called for a recovery period of 10 to 14 weeks.

“It’s been one of those weird summers, spending most of my time in Arizona watching the games from afar and trying to heal up,” Ethier told David Vassegh on “Dodgers On Deck” on AM 570 LA Sports.

“It’s definitely coming a lot slower than we all wanted or anticipated, but for the most part I’m still on the right track.” The time spent rehabbing has allowed Ethier to contribute in means off the field.

“I’ve been texting the guys when I see something or pick up something that I think they want to hear, or might not want to hear,” he said. “They definitely come up and ask when I get back around them if I’ve seen anything or what’s going on with certain things I might be picking up.”

While Ethier has endured a fair share of injuries throughout his career, none compare to the spiral fracture. “This is definitely the longest it’s been, especially by some freak (accident). It’s not one of those breakdown wear-and-tear injuries. It’s just a freak accident of a foul ball hitting your leg and breaking it,” the 34-year-old outfielder said.

“I take a lot of pride in conditioning myself every winter and preparing all offseason. That’s the tough part. Just knowing contributing-wise, I was so close to being back at the end of Spring Training of getting another season under my belt with the Dodgers. Getting those games taken away is tough.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts projected earlier this month that Ethier would return by Aug. 2. However, a bone scan on Friday revealed the fracture has yet to fully heal, which invariably pushed that date back.

Although the news wasn’t what the Dodgers or Ethier hoped for, the plan is for him to increase his level of activity and return at some point this season. “I’m still optimistic there’s something left at the end where I can come back and try to contribute in some way,” Ethier said.

“We’re working hard, and plan to be back some time in August or September.”