Dodgers hope Andre Ethier will return early next week

Some of the big boys were back in the Dodgers’ lineup Saturday, the varsity called back into action.

Clinch a division and get a day off. Pretty sure they’d take that trade.

But the lineup was still missing two regulars in Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez.

Ramirez played in Thursday’s clincher, hitting a pair of home runs, so his sore back isn’t too far off. Manager Don Mattingly, wanting to play it safe, said Ramirez may play only two or three more times over the final eight games.

Ethier is another matter. He hasn’t played since Sept. 13 after aggravating a sore foot and has been using a walking boot.

He has jogged and hit during pregame workouts the past two days, and said he is feeling better. Mattingly said if there are no setbacks, he hopes Ethier will be able to play during the three-game series in San Francisco that starts Tuesday.

The loss of Ethier has been partially offset by the return of Matt Kemp. But over his last 24 games, Ethier is hitting .295 with four home runs and eight doubles. Ethier is the one player the Dodgers could run out of time on.

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