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Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier not expected back until September

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.

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

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

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.

andy.mccullough@latimes.com

Twitter: @McCulloughTimes


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