Dodgers center fielder Andre Ethier rounds the bases after hitting a home… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)
They take lots of slow breaths around the Dodgers these days as they try to balance clinching a playoff spot with keeping players injury-free for the postseason.
The Dodgers had to pause again Friday night in a 4-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants when Andre Ethier came out of the game after irritating a sore ankle, but early reports were optimistic, not that they haven’t mistakenly gone down that road this season.
Ethier doubled in the eighth but felt the ankle bite as he made the turn round first. He did not appear to believe the injury was serious.
“It was just sore, but that’s the first time I really felt it like that,” Ethier said. “I’ll get a good night’s sleep and come in tomorrow and see if I’m ready to go.”
On Thursday the Dodgers lost shortstop Hanley Ramirez for at least a few games with what was determined to be a nerve irritation in his back.
The temporary loss of two key starters should make the Dodgers especially careful the final two weeks of the regular season.
Manager Don Mattingly said he didn’t think Ethier’s injury was serious.
“I don’t expect it to be anything other than having to give him some rest too,” Mattingly said.
Ethier said he was uncertain exactly when he first tweaked the ankle but that it started bothering him last week in Denver.
“I think it was on a swing that was an inside pitch and I kinda really rotated a lot,” he said. “If you’ve seen someone over rotate and kind of get their ankle caught, and almost to that twist and fall down, that’s kinda what I did.”
Ethier, however, said the ankle doesn’t bother him in the batter's box.
“It doesn’t hurt when I hit, just when I really get on it and run,” he said. “But not to that point where I can’t go. The question was asked, on a sharp hit ball to the outfield would I be able to score from [second], and I’m like, 'I’m not sure if I could really make that turn and do it.’"