Ethier doubtful for Opening Day with back injury

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Ethier received an epidural injection to relieve the pain and will return to camp Thursday. Manager Dave Roberts said Ethier will be shut down from baseball activity for a week to 10 days and said it will be “tough” for him to be ready for Opening Day.

“I don’t think we’re there about even thinking of Opening Day,” said Roberts. “It depends on how he responds the next week. We’re definitely not closing that door, but it’s going to be tough.”

The Dodgers also initially called Clayton Kershaw‘s disk herniated last year “mild,” but with a setback he was out for 2 1/2 months.

“As far as I understand it, it’s not as severe,” Roberts said of a comparison to Kershaw’s injury. “We’re trying to get past the idea of Opening Day as a drop-dead, hard deadline. The No. 1 thing is getting him back and healthy, whatever day that is, that’s our goal.”

Ethier was expected to make the Opening Day roster despite last year’s injury. The latest setback will open a spot in the crowded outfield, with Andrew Toles the most obvious beneficiary.

“Obviously, ‘Dre was expected to be on our roster, so there’s still opportunities,” said Roberts.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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