Andre Ethier may be limited to pinch-hitting duties in the National League division series because of a left ankle injury, leaving the Los Angeles Dodgers undecided on whether to include the outfielder on the playoff roster.
Ethier threw and hit but didn’t run during Tuesday’s workout at Dodger Stadium before the team departed for Atlanta, where they will face the Braves in Game 1 on Thursday.
He hasn’t played in the field since Sept. 13 because of an issue similar to shin splints. Ethier said he feels great when he wakes up but as he begins moving around he experiences pain a few inches above his ankle bone.
“We’re just trying to figure out a way for me to contribute anyway I can this first series,” he said. “We’re hoping it’s a hitting role right now.”
Ethier was 1 for 8 as a pinch-hitter this season, hitting a tying, two-run homer in the ninth inning against the Mets on Aug. 14.
“I can hit and throw,” he said. “Not sure I can hit the way I want to.”
The Dodgers are already down one outfielder for the postseason. Matt Kemp is out with complications from a sprained left ankle that has him wearing a boot and on crutches for the next month.
If Ethier isn’t ready, Skip Schumaker would likely replace him, having made 17 starts in center field this season.
The pitching staff is intact, with Clayton Kershaw set to start on Thursday against Atlanta’s Kris Medlen.
Max Scherzer will start Detroit’s A.L. division series opener Friday night at Oakland against A’s ace Bartolo Colon.
St. Louis will start Adam Wainwright on Thursday against wild-card winner Pittsburgh and A.J. Burnett.
Boston is expected to start Jon Lester on Friday against the winner of tonight’s wild-card game between Cleveland and Tampa Bay. Red Sox manager John Farrell hasn’t announced his rotation.
Clearing the bases
Yankees GM Brian Cashman says the team wants Joe Girardi back as manager. Cashman wouldn’t say if he would give the Cubs permission to speak with Girardi about their managerial opening. … The major league batting average dropped to .253 this season, its lowest level since hitters combined for a .244 average in 1972. … MLB’s average attendance fell 1.2 percent this year, with the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies experiencing big drops. … The Royals and manager Ned Yost have agreed to a two-year contract extension after wrapping up an 86-76 season, the best finish for the franchise in 24 years. Yost’s contract was set to expire after the season.
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