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Dodgers hopeful for Andre Ethier return in September

Outfielder fractured his right tibia in March

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Don’t count out Andre Ethier for 2016 just yet. Manager Dave Roberts said on Tuesday that he expects to activate Ethier at some point in September after roster limits expand.

The outfielder has been out all season after surgery to repair a fractured right tibia after fouling a ball off his shin in spring training.

Rehab progressed slower than expected for Ethier, but has improved enough recently to make manager Dave Roberts optimistic.

"It was about 10 days ago, a little under two weeks, when the medical staff reached out to me and said Dre turned a corner, and felt really good,” Roberts said Tuesday. “He was recovering, bearing weight, and jogging.“

“We're all looking forward to getting him back. That's a nice bat to have.”

Roberts said there would be no issue in integrating Ethier into the lineup and into the clubhouse.

"Andre is part of the nucleus of this club. He's a proven, consistent performer. He's been around,” Roberts said. “He's missed out on a lot, and we're looking forward to getting him back.”

There are a few issues with Ethier’s return. Roberts acknowledged that Ethier probably wouldn’t be 100 percent this season, which would affect how he’s used. Also, Ethier will need rehab games to get ready, and minor league seasons are coming to a close.

Regular seasons for the top four domestic Dodgers affiliates end on Monday, Sept. 5, and Rookie-level Ogden ends on Sept. 8. Roberts mentioned simulated games at Camelback Ranch in Arizona as a possibility as well.

"We're definitely working against the calendar,” Roberts said. “We're going to try to get him as many at-bats as we can before he gets here.”