Andre Ethier heads to DL

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a strained left oblique. The move is retroactive to June 28, and Ethier is expected to return to the lineup following the All-Star break.

"We just thought it was the wise decision at this point," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "The best-case scenario was getting to be Friday and we have a day game on Saturday and Sunday, which you wouldn't ask him to do after coming off this, so it didn't seem to make any sense."

The Dodgers activated second baseman Mark Ellis to take Ethier's place on the roster.

Ethier looked like he was ready to return to the lineup this week but experienced some pain on a swing earlier Tuesday. He has not played since suffering the injury on a check swing June 27 in San Francisco.

"It was definitely minor, but it's still there," Mattingly said of Ethier's injury. "He said as long as I don't miss, I'll be fine, but you miss sometimes. It just didn't seem to make any sense of taking a chance of missing four weeks, which was the situation we had with Matt (Kemp) where we thought he was ready. I don't really want that."

Ethier looked fine hitting before Wednesday's game against the Cincinnati Reds and said he plans to be back after the break.

"Obviously I'm disappointed, but I don't disagree with the thinking," Ethier said. "I understand what they're trying to do."

Ethier said he felt better Wednesday than he did Tuesday and didn't anticipate needing a rehab game before returning to the team. Mattingly agreed, saying Ethier just needed some time off.

"As long as he's healthy I don't think he'll need a rehab game," the manager said. "He's hitting today. I think he'll be ready to roll."

Ellis has been gone for nearly seven weeks with a severe leg injury and just finished playing four rehab games with the Class-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

"It's good to be back," Ellis said. "It was hard being gone. You don't feel so bad when the team is doing well and winning, but you feel guilty when they're going through some struggles. You feel like you can be out there helping. You want to be a part of it when things are good and when things are bad."

Kemp is still on a minor league rehab assignment in Rancho Cucamonga and went 2-for-3 with two singles, a walk, a strikeout and a run scored as the designated hitter on Tuesday. He will play five innings Wednesday before progressing to seven and then nine innings by this weekend.

Mattingly expects Kemp to make his return after the All-Star break and for the Dodgers to again resemble the team that had the best record in baseball before being hit with a rash of injuries.

"When we come out after those four days off we think like we're going to be back," Mattingly said. "We're going to get Matt back, we're going to get Andre back, we're getting Mark back today ... so we'll really be back to our club."