Dodgers nearing DL decision on Ethier

Dodgers nearing DL decision on Ethier

LOS ANGELES -- While awaiting team doctor Neal ElAttrache to arrive at Dodger Stadium before a night game with the Astros on Monday, Andre Ethier played catch in the outfield -- sort of.

Ethier, who broke his right pinkie on Saturday during batting practice in San Diego, made throws from the left-field foul line to Matt Kemp in center field, but did not catch the ball himself. Ethier's pinkie is in a splint, which prevents it from bending at the first knuckle, closer to the tip, but allows the second knuckle to bend. Ethier was still in pain on Monday, manager Joe Torre said.

Torre said the team would need ElAttrache's analysis before deciding whether Ethier will have to go to the disabled list. If Ethier does attempt to play through the injury, which can heal only with time and stabilization through the splint that's already in place, Torre said he wants to be sure there's no chance Ethier is set back by doing so.

"I'd like him to try to [swing the bat], but you're going to have to be comfortable because if it's it's irritating to the point of keeping you from finishing swings, it does us no good," Torre said. "I'm not anxious to put him on the DL."

Ethier, batting .392 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs, is still leading or tied for the lead in all the National League triple crown categories.

"He's disappointed. It's one of those freak things, too. "It's not like he got hit by a pitch or something," Torre said. "His finger sort of got stuck and he continued to swing, which is not unusual for him where he pinches it a little bit."

Torre said the team is better able to deal with any potential loss of Ethier because of the last two seasons, when Manny Ramirez sat out a 50-game suspension in 2009 and Rafael Furcal missed 125 games because of a lower back injury in '08.