Ethier begins rehab assignment in Class A

Ethier begins rehab assignment in Class A

LOS ANGELES -- Andre Ethier began a rehab assignment Thursday night with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, beginning the final stages of a recovery process he's labored through all season after a tibia fracture in Spring Training.

Ethier was at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday and took batting practice on the field before a 1-0 win. Manager Dave Roberts said a decision on Ethier would come after a couple of days, but the team must have liked what it saw enough to send him out to Rancho Cucamonga, where he went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored as the Quakes' designated hitter Thursday. His first hit came off rehabbing Padres pitcher Tyson Ross.

Since sustaining the injury after fouling a ball off his knee in March, Ethier has spent most of his time rehabbing at the Dodgers' Spring Training facility at Camelback Ranch in his home state of Arizona. Given the amount of time he has missed, it is not known how long he will need to stay in the Minors before joining the Dodgers.

"We're just going to play it by ear and see," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. "The whole purpose obviously for a guy who's missed so much time is to get his legs under him, get his timing at the plate. We'll assess on a day-to-day basis and take this time to build him up."

Another question remaining is if Ethier will return at full strength. Roberts conceded Wednesday that the outfielder likely won't be at full strength. Friedman echoed that sentiment, emphasizing realistic expectations.

"Anytime you miss this amount of time and in a short period of time try to ramp up, it's going to be tough to expect he'll be 100 percent," Friedman said. "He knows himself well; he's tried extremely hard to get back. He will be the last to say, 'I'm not 100 percent.' When he feels he can help this team win games, he will push down the door to get back here to do it."

Worth noting

• Roberts declined to name a starter for Saturday's and Sunday's games against the Cubs, but mentioned Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda as "in the equation." The team is likely waiting to see if Urias is needed in long relief behind Ross Stripling or Bud Norris before making a decision.

• Needing a backup catcher for Thursday's game following the A.J. Ellis trade, the Dodgers selected the contract of Shawn Zarraga from Triple-A Oklahoma City. They also reinstated Rob Segedin from the paternity list.

In the corresponding moves, Scott Van Slyke (right wrist irritation) was placed on the 60-day disabled list and Luis Avilan was optioned to Oklahoma City. Given that Van Slyke's DL placement goes back to Aug. 8, he likely won't be returning to the Dodgers this season.

Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.