By Jon Weisman
The second X-ray was radioactive and then some for Andre Ethier.
When Ethier fouled a ball off his right shin Friday, initial x-rays were negative. But after he showed no improvement over subsequent days, a follow-up CT scan revealed a right tibia fracture.
He won’t need surgery, but he is expected to need between 10 and 14 weeks to recover, which puts him out until at least approximately June, or approximately a third of the regular season.
Ethier, who turns 34 on April 10, played in 142 games last year and hasn’t played in fewer than 130 since 2006, his rookie year. He had an .842 OPS and 137 weighted Runs Created in 2015.
Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke are the most obvious choices to pick up Ethier’s innings in left field, with Trayce Thompson — who starts for the Dodgers in tonight’s Cactus League game against the Royals — the leading option from the farm system. The 25-year-old Thompson OPSed .896 with 144 wRC+ in 135 plate appearances when he debuted with the White Sox last summer.
Kiké Hernandez is the last Dodger to start in left field in a game that counted — Game 5 of the 2015 National League Division Series — and could also see time there once Corey Seager returns to action at shortstop.
A year ago, Crawford was coming off a hot finish to 2013, and Ethier was expected to be the fourth outfielder, only to step forward when Crawford struggled with injuries. This year, Crawford and others will have the opportunity to step up for a fallen starter.