While the Los Angeles Dodgers entered Spring Training with plenty of enthusiasm, bolstered by a deep roster and new manager Dave Roberts, the past few weeks haven’t been nearly as positive. Several key players have gone down with an injury, most recently Andre Ethier.
The veteran outfielder sustained a fractured right tibia as a result of fouling a ball off his shin on Friday. The Dodgers have also lost Brett Anderson — back surgery to treat a bulging disk — for an extended period of time.
Along with Anderson and Ethier, Mike Bolsinger Yasmani Grandal, Alex Guerrero, Howie Kendrick, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Corey Seager and Justin Turner have been among those slowed in camp.
Kendrick was scratched from Thursday’s lineup due to left calf tightness and is day-to-day. With Opening Day less than two weeks away, the Dodgers aren’t yet fully certain which regulars will be on the active roster.
Despite that, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts doesn’t want the litany of injuries to become a distraction, according to Doug Padilla of ESPN:
“You know what, it’s out of our control, and our guys have done a good job of continuing to get in their work, stay positive and get geared toward the start of the season,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We’re a talented team. We have a lot of good players. Obviously any injury hurts, and when you look at what we’ve gone through already, it’s frustrating, but we can’t let it distract us.”
One focus during the offseason for the Dodgers’ front office was adding depth, in terms of the pitching staff and overall roster. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman views the injuries as a chance for players who may not have otherwise been in line for significant time:
“It’s an opportunity for some to step up, and at this point, we’re not considering ourselves cursed or fortunate,” he said. “It is what it is. It’s what happens over the course of a season.”
Ethier’s injury is likely to lead to Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke forming a platoon, but Trayce Thompson may also receive a look in left field.
Thompson has played plenty during Spring Training and has some Major League experience. He batted .295/.363/.533 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 44 games last season with the Chicago White Sox.