The Dodgers don’t know when outfielder Andre Ethier will return, but it won’t be any time soon.
Ethier, who suffered a herniated disc in his lower back March 6, is still experiencing discomfort, manager Dave Roberts said on Wednesday.
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“I talked to him yesterday, and he said he had normal soreness,” said Roberts. “He’s doing some running, nothing baseball-wise, and he felt a little sore. Today, if it feels good, he’s going to do some running. On the baseball front, I don’t know when that’s going to be. Once that starts, then we have the progression and we’ll have a more accurate timetable. He’s still a ways out.”
Translated, that usually means months and not weeks. Having been shut down for a month already, once cleared for baseball activity Ethier will need to go through the equivalent of a full Spring Training before he’s Major League ready.
The club initially announced that Ethier had a “mild” herniation. The Dodgers also initially called Clayton Kershaw’s disc herniation last year “mild,” but with a setback, he was out for 2 1/2 months.
“There was a path [for Ethier] to potentially be down for four to five weeks or to try to take a little more aggressive approach and know you’re going to go through some soreness and balance it out, and that’s the way Andre decided to go,” said Roberts. “Each day as he tries to get closer and does more activity, it will let us know how aggressive we can continue to be.”
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Ethier, who turns 35 on Monday, missed almost all of last season with a broken right leg when he fouled a pitch off it. He reported to Spring Training fully healed from that injury and was expected to make the Opening Day roster.
A longtime fan of Liverpool in the English Premier League, McCarthy aligning with the former Chelsea star Drogba is a little like the Dodgers rolling into San Francisco with Sergio Romo in their bullpen. Sports can be strange like that.
Just as unpredictable is that McCarthy (3-0, 2.25 ERA), whose last two years were destroyed by Tommy John surgery and then the yips, would now be the starting pitcher manager Dave Roberts mentions alongside Clayton Kershaw at the top of a rotation missing Rich Hill and Scott Kazmir, with Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu struggling.
“We needed it,” Roberts said of McCarthy’s seven innings with six strikeouts, his longest outing since before his 2015 surgery. “When you have Clayton the ace, to have another guy to go alongside him to give the bullpen a day and reset our guys going into San Francisco, we’re right on track.”
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The Dodgers had lost five of their previous six, were two games below .500 for the first time this year and were trying to avoid being swept in a three-game series at Chase Field for the first time since 2008. The bullpen had been so taxed the previous two games that the Dodgers expanded it to eight Sunday morning by recalling Adam Liberatore.
“Getting deep was a priority,” said McCarthy, who allowed a two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning. “The first couple hitters, I was just not commanding the ball very well. I got a grip and cheapjerseysfor on what I was doing and the ball started going where I wanted it to.”
Arizona didn’t get a runner past first base against him after the first inning.
“He’s just got a good look in his eye,” said Roberts. “I like the word relentless. He’s relentless. He was pounding the strike zone, he had confidence in his entire mix, he’s aggressive, and I love his tempo and packers jersey cheap.”
Belt reached on a four-pitch walk while Urias was being cautious, one of four he issued (one intentionally). Including three starts at Triple-A Oklahoma City, Urias has walked 13 in 19 2/3 innings. A wild Urias pickoff sent Belt to third before Arroyo singled him home. Urias said the error was “all my fault, and it cost me a run.”
“I think he’s the same Julio,” said Austin Barnes, who caught Urias on Thursday and caught him often last year at Oklahoma City. “He was getting weak contact with the change, but the fastball set it up and he was good on both sides.”
While Urias walked four in his outing, the Giants walked four in the decisive 10th that included RBI singles from Andrew Toles and Justin Turner (13-game hitting streak); the go-ahead run was scored by pinch-runner Ross Stripling, the losing pitcher Wednesday night; and Chase Utley scored on a sacrifice foul pop by Enrique Hernandez that first baseman Buster Posey momentarily bobbled before controlling it.
“That inning we took the extra base, we did a lot of things right that inning,” Roberts said of Utley, who cued a pinch-hit single over the third-base bag for his third hit of the season. “That was very heads-up by Chase, by the book on a ball foul like that and the way he saw Buster how he caught the baseball going away from home plate and cheap jerseys mlb. Chase does a lot of things to help you win.”
So did the bullpen, after Wednesday night’s mess. Josh Fields cleaned up Urias’ last inning; Luis Avilan escaped a self-inflicted jam by getting Posey on one of three double plays the team turned; Kenley Jansen entered a tie game on the road and struck out the side to get the win and Chris Hatcher jersey retired the side in the bottom of the 10th.