Dodgers' Andre Ethier ruled day-to-day after injury scare

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Just when the Los Angeles Dodgers seemed to find an intriguing leadoff option, of course, he was forced to leave Friday’s Cactus League game earlier than scheduled.

Andre Ethier, who started batting in the top spot of the order this week, was replaced by a pinch runner in the fourth inning of Friday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks when he fouled a ball off the inside of his right shin.

After staying on the ground for an extend period, he was finally met by a trainer, as well as manager Dave Roberts. Ethier finished off his at-bat, drawing a walk, but he was quickly replaced by a pinch runner.

Not only did he limp off the field and into the Dodgers’ first-base dugout, he was later taken to the center-field clubhouse on a cart. Follow-up X-rays were negative, and the Dodgers have ruled him day-to-day with a lower leg contusion.

After a rocky 2014, when he had a career-low 341 at-bats and a paltry .370 slugging percentage, Ethier came back to life last season, thanks in part to a solid July and August when he posted on-base percentages of .410 and .420, respectively.

This spring, Ethier is batting a robust .435 (10-for-23) with a .652 slugging percentage and a .517 on-base mark. His penchant for getting on base is what inspired Roberts to try the veteran in the leadoff spot.

“Just to see him work every day and how he prepares himself is pretty impressive, really,” Roberts said. “And he plays the game the right way. Just seeing him work every day I have grown to appreciate what kind of player he is. Obviously, again, I’m hopeful that there is no fracture or anything like that. We’ll see what happens.”

Spring training is not only about getting in shape for the season ahead, it can also be about absorbing the bumps and bruises before reaching Opening Day. The Dodgers seem more snakebit than most, though.

They already lost starting pitcher Brett Anderson for 3-5 months with a back injury, infielder Justin Turner has been slow to get going this spring after microfracture surgery, catcher Yasmani Grandal has been pacing himself after shoulder surgery, and second baseman Howie Kendrick has worked his way back from a groin injury. Then there is rookie shortstop Corey Seager, who is working his way through a sprained left knee. Utility man Enrique Hernandez is on the way back from his own offseason shoulder surgery.

“You can look at it any way you want, but everyone has injuries to deal with, different circumstances and adversities,” Roberts said. “But we’re not going to make any excuses, we’re going to go out there with the guys that are healthy and we will go out there and play and get ready for our season.”