Ethier: Spring injury like Groundhog’s Day

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“It’s a fine line to walk, pushing through things,” Ethier said. “I learned that last year for sure. The most frustrating part — and I’m not saying it’s the same scenario — but it kind of feels like that right now. I’m up in the air waiting for other people to decide what to do. Definitely frustrating, feels like it’s Groundhog’s Day, stuck in Spring Training for 18 months now. That hit me yesterday sitting at home.”

Ethier said he first felt his back seize up going down the first-base line in a March 6 game against Colorado at Salt River Fields, the same location where he broke his leg last spring.

“I just locked up, that feeling where you can’t get your back straight and your butt is sticking out and I wouldn’t walk,” Ethier said. “I sat out two weeks to see if it would rehab, but it wasn’t drastically improved.”

Ethier’s injury appears to put Andrew Toles on the Opening Day roster. He said back specialist Robert Watkins will be in camp in the next few days to discuss a rehab regimen and timetable. Ethier had scans on Tuesday to rule out spinal fractures.

“Still haven’t heard results on those, but no news is good news,” Ethier said.

Ethier said he spoke briefly to Clayton Kershaw about the herniated disk that cost him 2 1/2 months last year.

“I was talking to Clayton a little bit about it, but didn’t go that far with it because I didn’t want to cross that path, didn’t know if it would be that path and still don’t know,” he said. “If it is that path, I definitely will talk to him about it.”

Ethier, 34, said he didn’t work any more or less in the offseason than he normally would.

“I can admit this one might be more wear and tear,” he said. “Last year was a freak thing. Last year, I thought a lot of the season was stolen from me. This one, everyone likes to point out how old I am and that it catches up to you, but I prepared the same way as in the past. I didn’t compensate, I felt just as strong as previous springs.”

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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