Dodgers' Ethier to Return During Playoffs at Best

Ethier was battling an ankle injury all month, Dodgers unsure when he will return

OK, let's just stop talking about the Dodgers phantom "Four Outfielder Problem," because that is apparently never going to happen.

The Dodgers announced that Andre Ethier will not be returning from his ankle injury until after the regular season, but they are hopeful he will return during the NLDS next week.

Hope appears to be all the Dodgers have left with Ethier at this point, because they cannot pin down an actual date for his return. He had an MRI and CAT scan earlier this week on the left ankle that has been bothering him all month, and while there is no sign of new damage, he is still not ready to play.

Ethier ran sprints Wednesday, but did not feel comfortable rounding bases. His progress will be monitored closely, and he will resume workouts with the team in Los Angeles, including hitting and fielding balls in the outfield.

Luckily for the Dodgers, they have a full outfield with Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig all currently healthy. Since Ethier made his last start on Sept. 13, the superstar outfielders have combined to hit .284.

One of the underlying story lines throughout the season has been about what the Dodgers will do with four starting outfielders. It is quite the hot-button topic for a situation that has not presented itself so far this season.

Every time it looks like they will have all four stars back to full health, another one goes down. Hopefully this time the Dodgers can get Ethier back during playoffs without the worry of another outfielder suffering an injury.

The Dodgers play the final three games of the regular season this weekend against the Colorado Rockies. After the series, they will have three days off before the opening series of the playoffs.

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