Ethier has splint placed on broken finger

Ethier has splint placed on broken finger

SAN DIEGO -- Andre Ethier had a splint placed on his broken right little finger Sunday and Dodgers manager Joe Torre said his star right fielder will see if he can swing a bat with it in a few days after the initial soreness subsides.

Ethier was still in some pain Sunday morning, then he drove to Los Angeles for an exam by hand specialist Dr. Steve Shin, who immobilized the knuckle to prevent flexion.

"We're hoping he's able to function, but we'll see," Torre said before the exam. "It's sore today. The trainers have been in touch.

"Over the next couple days, we'll see if there's a comfort level for him. We'll give him a day or two to let the soreness out and see what he can do with it and decide if it's enough. The last thing we want is to have him go out and do something and get into bad habits and wind up with a bad situation."

Ethier's .392 average, 11 homers and 38 RBIs have him on pace to lead the NL in all three Triple Crown categories.

Torre related how difficult it is for a hitter to swing a bat with a broken finger, even a pinkie like the right one Ethier broke Saturday night in batting practice. Ethier explained that the finger "contorted" under the knob of the bat during a swing and the pressure of the bat cracked the first knuckle.

Torre said he once played with a broken thumb.

"But the thumb is not as important as the fingers," he said. "You hold the bat with the fingers. The hands are so important to a hitter. You can try it, but it's very uneasy as a hitter. When I broke my thumb, the doctor taped it, but we didn't say anything. You don't keep these things secrets anymore.

"It's disappointing, but these are the potholes you have to deal with," said Torre. "The only help is my experience. Sitting and dwelling over what you don't have and can't do anything about it, that message gets across to players."

Left-handed-hitting Garret Anderson started in right field against Padres right-hander Kevin Correia in Saturday's 4-1 win. Right-handed-hitting Reed Johnson started in right, with Anderson starting in left field, against left-hander Wade LeBlanc in Sunday's 1-0 win.

Torre related a story about losing David Cone in his first year managing the Yankees, only for Dwight Gooden to ride to the rescue.

"You may find something, if he's out," Torre said.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.