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Dodgers don’t have timetable for return of outfielder Andre Ethier

Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier has not taken part in baseball activities for more than two weeks.
(Ross D. Franklin / AP)

Sixteen days after Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier received a pain-killing injection for a herniated disk, the discomfort in his lower back has yet to desist. Ethier has not been cleared to resume baseball activities, and manager Dave Roberts indicated the team had not formulated a timetable for his return.

Roberts received an update from Ethier on Tuesday. Ethier reported some soreness, which Roberts described as “normal,” after engaging in some running and plyometric exercises. Ethier would continue on a similar course in the coming days, in hopes of expanding his level of activity.

“As far as on the baseball front, I don’t know when that’s going to be,” Roberts said. “Once that starts, we’ll have a more accurate timetable.”

Clayton Kershaw sat out 2½ months because of a herniated disk in 2016. Ethier and Roberts have said this particular injury is not believed to be as serious as Kershaw’s.

As the team pondered how to treat Ethier’s back, they considered two routes, Roberts said. One offered four to five weeks of rest. Ethier pursued a more aggressive track, which involves a confrontation with daily discomfort. Those confrontations are ongoing.

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“Each day, as he tries to get closer and does more, than I think it’ll let us know how aggressive we can be,” Roberts said.

With Ethier on the shelf, the team promoted Andrew Toles as their regular left fielder. The injury also forced Yasiel Puig into a more prominent role against right-handed pitchers, a role Puig did not occupy after his demotion last summer. The Dodgers had hoped Puig could reclaim his place as an everyday player, but with Ethier injured, the team had little other choice.

Ethier sat out nearly all of 2016 after fracturing a leg on a foul ball in spring training. In 2015, his last healthy season, Ethier hit .294 with an .852 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He is in the final year of his contract with the Dodgers.

Short hop

Brock Stewart (shoulder inflammation) played catch this week for the first time since the Dodgers shut him down in March, Roberts said.

andy.mccullough@latimes.com

Twitter: @McCulloughTimes


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