Ethier hasn't played since straining his left oblique muscle on a checked swing on June 27, which means he could be activated by the team's first game after the All-Star break against the Padres on July 13, if healthy. Manager Don Mattingly said he doesn't expect the right fielder to need to play any rehabilitation games in the Minor Leagues during the break.
In response to sending Ethier to the DL, the team has reinstated second baseman Mark Ellis, who expects to be in the lineup on Thursday for the first time since injuring his left leg on May 18.
"It just didn't seem to make any sense, more than anything else, taking a chance of it being another four weeks or something if we let this thing go and end up with a situation like we've got with Matt," Mattingly said. "We thought he was ready and we end up four or six weeks later and we're still playing without him. I don't really want that."
Ethier said there was no setback and added he could go out there and play now if needed. And although he was frustrated by the news, he was understanding of the cautionary approach. He was on the field taking batting practice and running the bases on Wednesday.
"How do you test it?" he asked. "That's the problem we're running into. How do you test it without going out there and taking the chances of doing it again and prolonging it."
Mattingly said the best-case scenario with Ethier was that he would be ready to play on Friday. But with a day game on Sunday, he didn't see it necessary to risk bringing him back early for what would likely be only two games.
"It's minor, but it's still there," Mattingly said. "He says, 'As long as I don't miss, I'm fine.' Well, you miss sometimes here and you sometimes way out there."