Dodgers News: Carl Crawford, Scott Van Slyke Enter Stage Left In Wake Of Andre Ethier’s Injury
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

As has been the case over the past few seasons, the Los Angeles Dodgers surplus of outfielders becomes much-needed depth due to injuries. A difference this year is the timing, as the Dodgers will begin the season down an outfielder as opposed to adjusting on the fly during the summer.

To little surprise, bone scan on Andre Ethier’s right shin revealed a fractured tibia that x-rays taken last week did not pick up. The veteran outfielder won’t require surgery, but is expected to miss 10 to 14 weeks.

Ethier was initially diagnosed with a lower right leg contusion. He entered the Dodgers clubhouse on Saturday morning using crutches and didn’t show signs of improvement in the days to follow, which led to additional testing.

While Ethier’s absence strips the Dodgers of a productive bat — and potential leadoff hitter — they have seven other outfielders, Alex Guerrero and Kiké Hernandez included, on the 25-man roster.

On Tuesday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the initial plan calls for Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke to platoon in left field, while Guerrero is likely to remain at third base, per Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:

With Ethier out, Roberts said his first thoughts are that Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke will platoon in left field. Kike’ Hernandez and Trayce Thompson are possibilities as well but Roberts said Alex Guerrero (who played some in left field last year) is seen only as a third baseman now.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman added there will be dicussions on how to best fill the vacancy:

Friedman said he was “not sure yet” how the Dodgers will replace Ethier, saying “I do know we have a lot of really talented guys that we’ll talk through and debate.”

Ethier’s injury creates an opportunity for Trayce Thompson, who has played extensively at all three outfield positions during Spring Training, that otherwise may not have existed. Thompson was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in a three-team trade last December.

Meanwhile, Crawford is coming off a season in which a torn oblique limited him to 69 games. Van Slyke was slowed down the stretch with a hand issue that he’s since recovered from.

The 29-year-old outfielder/first baseman said at FanFest in January he was hoping to match his performance from 2014, a season in which batted .297/.386/.524 with 11 home runs and 29 RBIs in 246 plate appearances.

Van Slyke was scratched from the lineup on Sunday with a hip flexor, and hasn’t played since, though the injury is believed to be minor.