Dodgers News: Andre Ethier Unable To Run Without Back Pain; June Return...

Dodgers News: Andre Ethier Unable To Run Without Back Pain; June Return Unlikely

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Spring Training has not been kind to Los Angeles Dodgers veteran outfielder Andre Ethier, as after a nice bounce-back season in 2015, he fouled a ball off his leg last spring, sustaining a fractured tibia that caused him to miss almost the entire 2016 season.

After finishing last season in a limited role, Ethier reported to camp this year in good health and fully recovered from the leg injury. He was a leading candidate to earn the starting job in left field.

But, injury struck again. Back soreness and hip trouble were eventually determined to be a result of a herniated disc. Ethier was among the six Dodgers to begin the season on the disabled list.

Last month, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts projected Ethier would be activated in June, under a best-case scenario. However, that no longer appears feasible, as the 35-year-old is unable to run without pain and he in general remains limited, per the O.C. Register:

The last time Roberts heard from outfielder Andre Ethier, his back was giving him some problems when he runs or bends over. “Physically, he’s just limited,” Roberts said. “If someone told me late June (for a return), I’d be very excited.”

Ethier was 6-for-12 with a home run and six walks in eight Cactus League games before the back trouble set in. He recently said the recovery process was being taken on week-by-week basis.

The Dodgers transferred Ethier to the 60-day disabled list in a corresponding move to claiming Justin Marks off waivers. That amounted to the end of May marking the earliest Ethier would become eligible to be activated.

Ethier is the longest-tenured player in the organization, having spent all 11 seasons of his Major League career with the Dodgers.