Andre Ethier said on Sunday that he will not participate in the Home Run Derby on July 9 at Kauffman Stadium, as a precaution with his left oblique strain.
"It's fun to go out there and it's an honor, but when it all comes down to it, just going out and winning games is my motivation," Ethier said.
Ethier injured his oblique on a check swing on Wednesday, and has missed the last three games. He took 10 swings off a tee on Saturday, and said he would do the same Sunday and possibly do some long toss as well. Ethier out of the lineup again on Sunday and is still listed as day-to-day, but he could still end up on the disabled list in the next few days.
"We're still encouraged and we're still day-to-day with Andre," said manager Don Mattingly. "As we get closer to those days, what is the risk and what is the reward? Do we bite the bullet for an extra four days to be able to know 100% that when we start that second half we'll be at full bore?"
The Dodgers have scored two runs in three games without Ethier and they have scored 15 runs in their last 12 games. Ethier on one hand wants to return as soon as possible, but he also doesn't want to rush back and risk further injury.
"It's tough not to rush things back. Obviously with the way we've been playing we need a little spark here, but that big spark is going to be getting everyone back as a full team," Ethier said.
If Ethier is placed on the disabled list before playing again, he would be eligible to return on July 13, the Dodgers' first game after the All-Star break. The team should have Matt Kemp back that day as well, along with the return of Mark Ellis and Javy Guerra by then as well.
"He needs to be 100% sure he can play, I think," Mattingly said of Ethier. "If we're willing to say he's good enough to just pinch hit, then he takes a check swing, and we're going, 'Wow, we took a shot at this for one at-bat?' That to me doesn't make sense."
Independent of what happens with Ethier, Mattingly said the Dodgers have been mulling over the idea of a short bullpen this week. That would mean Shawn Tolleson would likely be optioned to Triple A to make room for a hitter. It appears that hitter won't be Carlos Lee, or at least not any time soon.
Lee told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that there was no decision yet regarding whether or not Lee would waive his no-trade clause. Meanwhile, Buster Olney of ESPN reported a source that said Lee to the Dodgers was "probably not going to work out."
Kemp Rehab Schedule
Kemp ran the bases hard today with trainer Sue Falsone watching, and though Mattingly still hasn't confirmed a rehab schedule Kemp reiterated that he would be the designated hitter for Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday.
The clubhouse postgame spreads for Rancho Cucamonga will be a step up from the normal fare for about a week, as the rehab assignments of Mark Ellis, Javy Guerra, and Matt Kemp will ensure at least one major leaguer with the Quakes for about a week, starting yesterday. Tradition dictates that any major league players on rehab assignments buy the postgame meal for the team, a practice Kemp enjoys.
"It's tough being in the minor leagues with the money they get. I was eating Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken every day (in the minors), so I'm going to feed them well," Kemp said. "I like to eat, so I'm going to eat good too. I don't want to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at night."
Hawksworth Shut Down
Relief pitcher Blake Hawksworth, who pitched two games on a rehab assignment for Rancho Cucamonga, has been shut down completely for two weeks with a sore right shoulder. Hawksworth, who had a pair of elbow surgeries in January, has had several setbacks on his road to recovery, including shoulder soreness while at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona.
Ethier said he was disappointed that he didn't make the All-Star team but that he understood, and that there were several deserving candidates. The topic of team-driven voting campaigns came up, since the Dodgers just left San Francisco where rapper E-40 was part of an All-Star promotion. Ethier took this opportunity for a playful dig at the rivals up north.
"It's embarrassing to watch anything in San Francisco, I'm not going to lie to you," Ethier said, laughing. "You can see when you're organization is trying to hold on like them. They know we're coming for them, and they know we're making our moves down here and they'll do anything they can to try to stay ahead of us but it's not going to last."
Game Time: 5:05 p.m.