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Nagging injuries starting to mount for Dodgers

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MLB: Spring Training-Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Dodgers
Andre Ethier left with back soreness on Monday.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE — The Dodgers came deliciously close to their first tie of spring training on Monday, falling 10-9 to the Rockies. But more importantly, they leave Salt River Fields with a few more nagging injuries to add to the pile.

In addition to Scott Kazmir leaving with tightness in his left hip, outfielder Andre Ethier left after just two innings with back tightness.

Ethier beat out an infield single to shortstop to open the game, batting leadoff, then played two innings in left field. But in the top of the third inning, Brett Eibner pinch hit for Ethier, who jogged and walked to the clubhouse in center field under his own power after the inning.

Ethier seemed to downplay the injury as a precaution, and manager Dave Roberts said he thought it was minor. “I just wanted to get him out of the game,” Roberts said.

But we are at that point of spring where little injuries start to pop up, with still enough time before opening day to be overly cautious, trying to nip things in the bud before they could get worse.

Corey Seager, who fouled a ball off his shin last week and missed a game — he sat for three straight games, but the only one he was scheduled to play was March 1 -- is now dealing with back soreness, felt on a swing in his first game back, on March 3. All signs now point to Seager missing the next two games as well, trying to utilize Thursday’s off day for extended rest.

"All I know is that every day he's gotten better,” Robert said. “Realistically, we're going to get him through the off day, and we'll see about that game Friday.”

Even non-roster outfielder Henry Ramos fell to the injury bug, leaving mid-inning in the bottom of the third after feeling something in his groin while running to first base on a bunt in the top of the inning.

"You try to do everything you can to keep guys on the field and keep guys healthy, but sometimes injuries are going to happen,” Roberts said.

The Dodgers did get Adrian Gonzalez back on Monday. After dealing with elbow tendinitis and not swinging a bat for two weeks, Gonzalez started at designated hitter and got two plate appearances. He grounded out to second base in the first inning and flew out to the warning track in left field in the fourth.

Roberts said Gonzalez will start at first base on Tuesday against the Giants. Gonzalez is expected to join Team Mexico for the World Baseball Classic after tomorrow’s game.

Notes

The Dodgers were down 8-2 but rallied for five runs in the eighth inning to pull within one, then scored two more in the ninth to match the Rockies’ output from the bottom of the eighth. Los Angeles had two runners thrown out at the plate — Kiké Hernandez on a fly ball to left field to end the seventh, and O`Koyea Dickson on a double steal attempt to end the ninth.

We were this close to a possible Dodgers tie thanks to a double steal by Dickson and Stetson Allie.

Hernandez was 2-for-3 with a double and is now expected to join Team Puerto Rico for the WBC.

Eibner, who filled in four Ethier, was 3-for-3 with two doubles and a triple.

The Rockies hit five home runs, though they really hit six. Mark Reynolds hit a ball that bounced off the green batters eye in center field and came back on the field, but was ruled a triple. There was no instant replay available. That was the first of three straight balls hit over the fence against Ralston Cash in the second inning.

Chris Hatcher allowed two home runs in a three-run fourth inning.

The Dodgers battle the Giants back at Camelback Ranch on Tuesday, a 12:05 p.m. PT game that won’t be televised. Clayton Kershaw starts against Matt Moore.