Dodgers veteran Andre Ethier is dealing with neck issue as September activation approaches

Outfielder , who has been on the disabled list all season, is now dealing with a “neck thing,” which could limit his usage when the activate him this weekend, manager said.

Ethier sustained a herniated a disk in his back in March. He did not appear in a game until beginning a rehabilitation assignment on Aug. 12. He has been held out of the triple-A Oklahoma City lineup the last few days because of the neck issue, Roberts said.

Roberts was unsure about the nature of Ethier’s injury — how it affects him, how he sustained it — but did say Ethier is still expected to meet the team in San Diego on Friday.

“I know that it’s important for him to get at-bats,” Roberts said. “And this hasn’t helped the situation. But Andre will be prepared. I know that.”

Ethier missed the first five months of 2016 after suffering a broken leg during . He contributed as a hitter off the bench in October. The Dodgers have projected a similar role for Ethier during these playoffs.

Roberts had hoped to play Ethier in the field in September.

“Do I plan on running him out there for three days in a row? No,” Roberts said. “But I think that Andre wants to be as healthy as possible, and still wants to have those repetitions in the batter’s box.”

still working

Dogged this season by tendinitis in his knee, glitches in his delivery and now blisters on his right hand, Brandon McCarthy will pitch in another rehab game this weekend, Roberts said.

McCarthy threw three innings for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday, but still struggled with his command.

The Dodgers may use McCarthy as a spot starter in September, Roberts said. He posted a 3.84 earned-run average in 16 starts, but lost his command in late June.

Short hops

Informed that , the flamboyant closer, told reporters after Tuesday’s game that he hoped to face the Dodgers in the playoffs, Roberts smirked. “Fernando Rodney, huh? That’s great. Good for him. They’re a good club. Who we play in the playoffs, we don’t know that. Whoever it is, we’re going to be ready to play.” … The Dodgers will call up Brock Stewart to start the day game of Saturday’s doubleheader against San Diego. will pitch the nightcap. Clayton Kershaw returns from the disabled list on Friday, with Alex Wood coming off the DL on Sunday.

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