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Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier not expected back until September

Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier watches batting practice prior to the game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on May 26.
(Paul Buck / European Pressphoto Agency)

On Wednesday afternoon, a few hours before the Dodgers distributed Andre Ethier bobbleheads to fans at Dodger Stadium, manager Dave Roberts offered a pessimistic estimation of when Ethier might actually play for the team this season: Sept. 1.

Ethier has appeared in 16 games since 2015 and has been sidelined since spring training by a herniated disk.

He broke his leg in the spring of 2016 and did not debut until Sept. 10 last year. Roberts projected a similar timetable this time, since Ethier has shown little sign of progress in recent months.

A few weeks ago, Roberts was still hopeful that Ethier might be available soon after the All-Star break.

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Ethier can become a free agent after this season, with the Dodgers owing him a $2.5-million buyout.

Heading into 2016, the team pegged him as its leadoff hitter and a crucial part of the offense. His importance has waned as his health has been compromised, and other players have filled the void created by his absence.

Chris Taylor, a converted infielder, continues to make strides as the team’s regular left fielder.

Morrow up, Stewart down

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The Dodgers recalled reliever Brandon Morrow from triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned Brock Stewart to the minors. Stewart, who logged three innings in relief Tuesday, will return to the Oklahoma City starting rotation.

Morrow did not give up a run in five appearances during a cameo with the Dodgers a few weeks ago. The team sent him back to the minors when Alex Wood returned from the disabled list June 10, but Morrow is more likely to appear in tight-game situations than Sergio Romo or Chris Hatcher.

Short hops

The Dodgers do not have a timetable for pitcher Julio Urias’ return from shoulder inflammation. Team doctor Neal ElAttrache examined Urias this week, Roberts said. The team is still gathering information and could seek a second opinion on Urias’ arm. “With Julio, we’re trying to be extra cautious,” Roberts said.

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andy.mccullough@latimes.com

Twitter: @McCulloughTimes


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