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Inbox: What's the status of Ethier and A-Gon?

Beat reporter Ken Gurnick fields Dodgers fans' questions
MLB.com @kengurnick

What is the status of Andre Ethier? He seems to have become the forgotten man.
-- bluerobb13@earthlink.net

The status of Ethier, as well as first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, are similar. Both are sidelined by herniated disks in their back, both have decided not to undergo season-ending surgery and both seem resigned to wait until rosters expand in September and give whatever they've got left to help the Dodgers win a World Series. Ethier is in the final guaranteed year of his contract, and he will be 35 next April. Gonzalez is signed through 2018 ($21.5 million salary) and he will be 35 next May.

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What is the status of Andre Ethier? He seems to have become the forgotten man.
-- bluerobb13@earthlink.net

The status of Ethier, as well as first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, are similar. Both are sidelined by herniated disks in their back, both have decided not to undergo season-ending surgery and both seem resigned to wait until rosters expand in September and give whatever they've got left to help the Dodgers win a World Series. Ethier is in the final guaranteed year of his contract, and he will be 35 next April. Gonzalez is signed through 2018 ($21.5 million salary) and he will be 35 next May.

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Their time as everyday players could be over, and both seem to be accepting of that reality. Cody Bellinger was being groomed to replace Gonzalez at first base even before the back injury, but replacing Ethier for the medium and long term appears to be a tougher challenge.

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Is this the deepest Dodgers team ever?
-- Eaten by a Grue @Gruekommune

"Ever" is a little aggressive. The Boys of Summer clubs in the 1950s had six Hall of Famers -- Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax (debut in '55) and Don Drysdale (debut in '56), and Gil Hodges probably should have been the seventh. The starting rotation (Don Newcombe, Carl Erskine, Johnny Podres, Billy Loes, Russ Meyer) was so deep that it took Koufax about five years to really find his place in it. Now that's depth.

The 1977 Dodgers had four 30-homer hitters, the Garvey-Lopes-Russell-Cey infield; Baker, Smith and Monday in the outfield; Yeager behind the plate, all in the prime of their careers; and a rotation of Sutton, John, Rhoden, Hooton and Rau. The current edition is younger with fewer established stars and a thinner rotation, but in today's baseball, it's probably the deepest and most versatile around.

Postseason starting rotation: Kershaw and ...?
-- Mark Nakata @mrnonel

Correct.

Do the Dodgers feel confident in their rotation?
-- Nick Adams @ GunkaNick

Does any team? This management group acquired starting pitchers Alex Wood and Mat Latos during the 2015 season, then Bud Norris and Rich Hill during the '16 season. Starting pitching already figured to be on the shopping list again as the '17 non-waiver Trade Deadline approached, and then phenom Julio Urias needed shoulder surgery. The club was counting on Urias to provide late-season help, so the need is even greater than originally anticipated.

Video: LAD@SD: Wood fans eight, improves to 9-0

Though Wood has turned into an All-Star-caliber starter, he actually was damaged goods when acquired (ankle injury), went 5-6 down the stretch and was in the bullpen in the postseason. Hill was overpowering after his acquisition, but only when he wasn't sidelined by finger blisters. The ability of either to remain healthy and effective from now deep into October -- plus Urias' injury -- means trades are coming.

Who's the most likely starter the Dodgers would be willing to get rid of from the group of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda or Scott Kazmir?
-- Eric Rodriguez @BannedRodriguez

It's always more realistic to look at potential trades from the perspective of the other team. So, which of these is more appealing to be acquired? Not Kazmir, who hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues this year, is the oldest of the trio and is owed the most guaranteed money. Maeda is 28 and under control through 2023 at a modest guaranteed salary. Ryu is 30, has had shoulder and elbow operations in recent years and will be a free agent after next season. On the trade market, Maeda would have the greatest value and generate the better return.

If Justin Turner keeps playing daily, how much longer before he is accepted into the official batting leadership?
-- gmorfalea89@gmail.com

Projecting that date is tricky because, with seriously banged-up legs (have you seen him run hard lately?), he will get days off. A player must have 3.1 plate appearances per team game played to qualify for the batting title. For a 162-game season, that is 502 plate appearances. Turner has 251 plate appearances entering Tuesday's play, exactly half the needed amount, and the Dodgers have 78 games remaining. Turner needs to average 3.22 plate appearances in each remaining game to qualify.

Video: Turner nominated for Dodgers Player of the Month

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers