It’s still wait-and-see for Dodgers’ Andre Ethier

Share via

Andre Ethier suited up, stretched on the Dodger Stadium outfield grass and otherwise looked as though he was preparing for Monday night’s game.

But Ethier, who has a broken bone in his right pinkie, didn’t take batting practice or catch any throws. The National League’s leader in batting average and the Dodgers mulled whether he needed to go on the 15-day disabled list.

The Dodgers planned to wait on any decision until the right fielder was examined Monday night by team physician Neal ElAttrache.

Ethier “came in and wrapped up and he’s got a splint on his finger” that keeps the lower knuckle from bending, Manager Joe Torre said. “It’s still pretty painful for him.”

Ethier injured the finger during batting practice Saturday when the Dodgers played the Padres in San Diego and sat out the team’s games Saturday and Sunday.

“I’m not anxious to put him on the DL if there’s any chance of him getting back,” Torre said. By the same token, “I don’t want somebody to just go take an at-bat without being where he was. That’s what I told him. I said, ‘I’d like you to try it, but you’re going to have to be comfortable with it.’

“If it’s irritating to the point of keeping him from finishing his swing, then it doesn’t do us any good. He’s disappointed; it’s just one of those freak things.”

Although the Dodgers swept the three-game series with the Padres, Ethier’s injury was a big blow because through Sunday he was leading the league with a .392 batting average and 38 runs batted in, and he was tied for the home run lead with 11.

A left-handed batter and thrower, Ethier on Monday also made several tosses to a teammate during warmups but did not catch any return throws so as not to aggravate the injury.

Catch call

A catcher in his playing days, Torre was asked how often he calls the pitches during a game. His answer: hardly ever.

“I never did, I never did with anybody,” he said, noting that catcher Russell Martin is in charge of pitch selection. “I just feel like the catcher, to be in the game, has to do that.”

Torre said he’ll sometimes call for certain plays, and he and Martin “may talk about something when he comes in, situation-wise, but I’ve never been one to to that.” Then he added with a laugh, “I always second-guess him.”

Regardless of who’s calling the pitches, “pitchers call the game, catchers suggest,” Torre said. “And if the pitcher doesn’t want to throw it, he doesn’t throw it, he throws something else. A lot of times they won’t even shake you off, they’ll just stare you off.”

And finally

The Dodgers still haven’t decided whether shortstop Rafael Furcal, on the disabled list because of a sore left hamstring, needs another rehabilitation game in the minor leagues, Torre said, adding that “he needs to, in my opinion, be 100%. He’s just going to have to wait for that to happen.” . . . Pitcher Luis Ayala, who had been with triple-A Albuquerque, was released after he activated the opt-out clause in his contract, the Dodgers said.