MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier has been diagnosed with mild herniation of a disk in his lower back, making it doubtful that the veteran will be ready for Opening Day. Ethier received an epidural injection and will be shut down from baseball activity for seven to 10 days.
Ethier, who turns 35 years old next month, missed almost all of the 2016 season with a broken leg. He was hoping to grab at least a part-time role in left field, but it appears that won’t be the case to start the season. Andrew Toles is the player most likely to see increased playing time in Ethier’s absence.
Ethier has a club option worth $17.5 million with a $2.5 million buyout for the 2018 season, which likely makes this season his last in L.A given his age and health issues.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base when he returns from the disabled list. Cabrera has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a sprained left thumb, but he’s expected to be activated on Friday.
Cabrera, 31, last played second base in 2014 with the Nationals. He has played shortstop exclusively as a Met the last two seasons. Jose Reyes would continue to play shortstop if the Mets were to go through with the position change. Cabrera would displace T.J. Rivera, who has been playing second base in place of the injured Neil Walker.
In 196 plate appearances this season, Cabrera is hitting .244/.321/.392 with six home runs and 20 RBI. He has made 11 defensive errors, which is tied for the third-most among shortstops behind Tim Anderson (16) and Dansby Swanson (12).
Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.
Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.
Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.