As expected, the Dodgers finally placed Andre Ethier on the disabled list on Wednesday after the right fielder missed six games with a strained left oblique. Ethier was limited to hitting in the cage and off a tee since the injury before returning to batting practice with the team Wednesday, making it less and less likely he would be able to play in the Dodgers' four-game series in Arizona, their final series before the All-Star break.
"The best case scenario was getting to be Friday," Mattingly said. "It didn't make any sense for him to come back for two games."
Mattingly said he likely would have sat Ethier anyway on Sunday in Phoenix, a day game after a night game, after being out a week.
Ethier was placed on the disabled list retroactive to June 28, and will be eligible to return from the disabled list on July 13, the date of the Dodgers' first game back after the break. He said he felt like he might be able to return for the Arizona series but understood the team's caution.
"How do you test it without going out there with the chances of possibly doing it again and prolonging it? That's what we were faced with," said Ethier. "I think there was just caution with the timing of things right now."
Mattingly said Ethier will likely not need to go on a minor league rehab assignment before returning on July 13.
To take Ethier's place on the roster, the Dodgers activated Mark Ellis, nearly seven weeks after coming within hours of possibly losing his left leg. Ellis hit .273/.373/.364 with 27 runs scored in 37 games for the Dodgers before injuring his leg in a collision at second base on May 18 with Tyler Greene of the St. Louis Cardinals. Ellis had to have emergency surgery the next day to relieve pressure in his left leg, and for a time it was thought he might have had to have work done on his knee as well but that never happened.
Ellis played four games with Class A Rancho Cucamonga from Saturday to Tuesday, and had four singles and three walks, and scored three runs. Ellis said he was able to do pretty much everything on the field with the Quakes except turn a double play.
"Seeing live pitching and getting my timing back (were important), but running the bases was hindering me the most," Ellis said. "I took some chances I wouldn't take in a big league game, on a first and third play. I was out, but I was able to run, run full speed, slide, and do all that stuff. Those were the most important things to me."
Matt Kemp will play five innings in center field Wednesday night with Rancho Cucamonga, who open a three-game series against Inland Empire in San Bernardino. Kemp will play seven innings in center field Thursday and Friday with the Quakes, then play nine innings in center field Saturday and will be the designate hitter on Sunday. The Quakes head to San Jose on Saturday so Kemp might play Saturday and Sunday with Triple A Albuquerque.
Javy Guerra has been cleared medically to return to the Dodgers, though Mattingly said he would prefer Guerra to pitch in one more rehab game, throwing 30 pitches, but his activation will likely depend on how much the bullpen is needed Wednesday and Thursday with Aaron Harang and Nathan Eovaldi starting.
"We're at 11 and going one short out of the pen, so it kind of depends what happens to us," Mattingly said. "Tonight's got a little bit to do with it."
The Dodgers on Tuesday night signed second round pick Steven Rodriguez, their second round MLB Draft pick out of the University of Florida. The Dodgers have signed 31 of their 41 draft picks, including all 16 players they drafted in the first 15 rounds.
Game Time: 6:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket, MLB Network