Last spring, Andre Ethier was well on his way to securing an everyday spot in the lineup. What’s more, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts named Ethier among the candidates to bat leadoff. That came to a grinding halt when Ethier fouled a pitch off his leg, sustaining a fractured tibia.
The injury was initially diagnosed as a lower leg contusion, and true extent of it wasn’t determined until additional testing conducted after Ethier didn’t show any signs of improvement. Although he was projected to miss 10 to 14 weeks, Ethier didn’t come off the DL until last September.
With essentially a full season lost to injury, the veteran outfielder reported to camp in full health. Ethier started in left field on Monday and hit leadoff against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields.
However, he was pinch-hit for by Brett Eibner in the third inning after just one at-bat. According to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, Ethier was removed early because of back soreness:
Andre Ethier said he left today's game because he felt back soreness while running. Day to day. #Dodgers
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) March 6, 2017
The Dodgers also lost Scott Kazmir (hip tightness) and Henry Ramos (unspecified) to early exits on Monday. Kazmir is expected to undergo a precautionary MRI.
Ethier entered the day batting .375/.667/.750 with one home run, one RBI and six walks. He’s locked in a competition of sorts with Andrew Toles for the starting job in left field.