Andre Ethier singles in a run against the Braves back in April. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)
Starved for good news, the Dodgers received a morsel Thursday and devoured it. When you’ve lost eight of nine, been shut out by your rival the last three games and are playing without your No. 2, 3 and 4 hitters, a crumb can feel like a feast.
The good news arrived via the medical review of the MRI taken on Andre Ethier’s strained left oblique muscle.
Ethier’s injury was not deemed serious enough to place him on the disabled list, at least for now, and the Dodgers called him that favorite medical standby – day-to-day.
“It’s really good news,” said Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly. “We’re still calling it a strain, but it’s on the better side for a left-handed hitter, the left side. At this point we’re calling him day-to-day.
“I kind of assumed we were going to be in a DL situation, but really the docs looked at it and didn’t see any swelling. It really couldn’t be any better as far as this injury goes.”
Ethier underwent therapy and later stretched with the team, as he is expected to do again Friday. Mostly, he was just thrilled to learn the strain was not serious.
“I was really hoping,” Ethier said. “I've been on the DL the last couple of years and it's not a good feeling. There's nothing more I would want to have than a full, healthy season.”
Still needing an outfielder to replace him at least in the short term, the Dodgers called back Scott Van Slyke from triple-A Albuquerque and sent infielder Ivan De Jesus back down. Van Slyke was in the lineup against the Mets Thursday and batting fifth.
The Dodgers will approach Ethier’s injury with caution, and if he doesn’t show steady progress, he could yet be headed for the DL. Position players who strain an oblique typically spend a month on the disabled list.
“Obviously we’re in a league where you can’t just sit here for 10 days,” Mattingly said. “If it got to something like that, I’m sure we’d talk about something different. But at this point, we’re talking day-to-day, not DL.”
Mattingly said the day after Wednesday’s frustrating third consecutive scoreless loss to the Giants that he was trying to look at things optimistically. Mark Ellis is expected back within a week, and Matt Kemp could follow shortly afterward.
“We have to get ourselves to the [All-Star] break and get our guys back,” Mattingly said.
“We have to regroup and think about this thing. If you tell me walking out of spring training, that with 11 games before the break and having played half of them without Matt, that during that period you’re going to lose a starting pitcher in Ted Lilly, you’re going to lose Matt Guerrier, Javy Guerra, and you’re going to be tied for first – we would have walked out of spring training and said, `Sign me up for the rest of the year, let’s go.’
“And no matter where we’ve been, this is where we’re at.”
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