GLENDALE, Ariz. — An MRI on Andre Ethier‘s right tibia Monday revealed a simple fracture. The veteran outfielder won’t need surgery, but the Dodgers say he will not return for 10 to 14 weeks.
The news comes as a blow to a Dodgers team already hurting, particularly on the pitching side. Manager Dave Roberts mentioned the left-handed hitting Carl Crawford and the right-handed hitting Scott Van Slyke as the top candidates to replace Ethier, with Trayce Thompson also in line to receive a longer look between now and Opening Day.
“Andre’s had such a good spring,” Roberts said. “He was really looking forward to this season.”
Early in camp, Roberts told Ethier that he would be the team’s first option in left field after a strong 2015 season — a .294 batting average, .366 on-base percentage and a .486 slugging percentage in 142 games.
Ethier had a .435 batting average in Cactus League play, with 10 hits, including a triple and a home run, in 23 at-bats.
“He’s a big part of what we’re trying to do,” Roberts said. “To be out whatever it is … it’s disappointing, for sure.”
Both Roberts and Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said they had spoken to Ethier since the diagnosis.
“I just told him to take two, three days with his family and get away, and try to clear his head as much as possible,” Roberts said.
Ethier is a candidate to begin the season on the 60-day disabled list, which would create a spot on the 40-man roster.
“I think our guys have done a great job of continuing to get their work and stay positive and gear toward the start of the season,” Roberts said. “We’re a talented team. We’ve got a lot of good players. Any injury, it hurts. When you look at what we’ve gone through already, it’s frustrating. We can’t let it distract us.”