PEORIA, Ariz. -- Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier's back flared up again on Saturday and he was scratched from a split-squad game against the Seattle Mariners.
The Dodgers arrived for the game without Ethier, then announced he experienced mid-back stiffness while taking batting practice at Camelback Ranch-Glendale two hours earlier.
Ethier also came off the field the first day of full-squad workouts with a similar injury he reportedly suffered while lifting boxes before Spring Training started.
"The fact that it happened twice makes you think," manager Don Mattingly said after the game with the Mariners. "I talked to 'Dre and he said he didn't get a good stretch, but it makes you think a bit when it happens twice in [a few days]. He said something about a slide into second."
Ethier is coming off arthroscopic knee surgery in September and has had no limitations. When he's played, he's looked 100 percent. He's batting .625 (5-for-8) with two doubles, a triple, a home run and four RBIs in four games.
Mattingly said Ethier received treatment and would be re-evaluated Sunday, when he has a scheduled day off from game action.
Eovaldi taking advantage of spring stage
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- All five starters in the Dodgers rotation have multiyear contracts, but Nathan Eovaldi showed again Saturday that he'll be ready to replace one of them when needed.Eovaldi pitched three scoreless innings against the Seattle Mariners in the daytime split-squad game, a more impressive outing than veteran Chad Billingsley had in the nightcap with the White Sox, whom he allowed three runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings before reaching his pitch limit. Eovaldi, who made quite the impression during last year's callup, had his path to the big leagues blocked when general manager Ned Colletti signed free agents Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano while letting Hiroki Kuroda leave. With Clayton Kershaw atop the rotation, that left no vacancies. "I felt like I performed really well," Eovaldi said. "I'll just work harder, I guess, and try to get better." One unspoken reason for holding Eovaldi back is the unfortunate experience with Rubby De La Rosa, who was rushed to the big leagues last year only to blow out his elbow and require Tommy John surgery. Eovaldi already had elbow reconstruction in high school, and the Dodgers don't want him to join De La Rosa on the sidelines. Manager Don Mattingly, however, said if Eovaldi doesn't make the club out of Spring Training, it's no reflection on his talent. "Nate is going to get better and better," Mattingly said. "He has a chance to be something special. His stuff is electric. The guy works hard and wants to get better." Meanwhile, Billingsley was hit around, although two of the three runs he was charged with scored when Josh Lindblom relieved Billingsley and was greeted by a three-run homer from Tyler Flowers. "I struggled with my rhythm early, but overall I was pretty happy," said Billingsley. "My curveball was sharp and I had a good changeup, but my fastball wasn't consistent. It's only the second time out, so it's not like I'll read too much into it." Kenley Jansen, who had a scare Friday with an accelerated heartbeat, pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout on Saturday and afterward said he felt fine.
Franchise bidder Cohen tours spring camp
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen, considered by many to be a frontrunner in the bidding for the Dodgers, was given a tour of Camelback Ranch-Glendale by vice chairman Jeff Ingram and chief revenue officer Michael Young before Saturday night's split-squad game with the White Sox.
Cohen is the founder and CEO of Connecticut-based SAC Capital and was ranked by Forbes Magazine last year as the 35th richest person in the United States, with a net worth of $9.3 billion. His group also includes leading sports agent Arn Tellem and investment banker Steve Greenberg.
Seven groups reportedly remain in the bidding for the Dodgers and Dodger Stadium, a sale being conducted by Blackstone Advisors for current owner Frank McCourt, who placed the team in bankruptcy last June. McCourt also attended the game.
Those groups are currently being vetted by two MLB owner committees, which reportedly will conduct interviews of the groups in the Phoenix area next week. Once that hurdle is cleared, bidders will be asked to submit a new bid. The franchise and stadium are expected to bring in excess of $1.5 billion, while McCourt has told bidders he intends to keep the parking lots at Dodger Stadium for future development.
Other bidding groups: Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten and Mark Walter of Guggenheim Partners; St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke; Stanley Gold of Shamrock and the Disney Family; Leo Hindery, Marc Utay and Tom Barrack of Colony Capital; Los Angeles real estate investor Alan Casden; and Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley and Tony Ressler of Ares Capital.
The agreement McCourt made with MLB through the bankruptcy calls for him to identify a winning bidder by April 1 and have the sale close by April 30, the same date he must pay former wife Jamie McCourt $131 million to settle their divorce.
Hawksworth has no timetable for return
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers reliever Blake Hawksworth resumed playing catch this week after being delayed by complications following elbow surgery.
Hawksworth underwent what should have been relatively minor arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow Jan. 11 to remove a bone spur and scar tissue. But a post-surgical infection developed that required a second cleansing procedure and powerful antibiotics, setting back his recovery.
Hawksworth said he does not know of a timetable for throwing off a mound or in a game. He is expected to remain in Arizona for extended Spring Training.
The 28-year-old Hawksworth had a decent first season with the Dodgers after being acquired from the Cardinals for Ryan Theriot. He went 3-5 with a 4.08 ERA in 49 appearances, with one stint on the disabled list with a strained groin muscle.
Hawksworth served as a middle and long reliever for the Dodgers. Because he is out of options, he was considered likely to make the Opening Day roster.
In the wake of his surgery and infection, the Dodgers signed reliever Todd Coffey to a guaranteed contract and non-roster invitee Jamey Wright is now competing for the final spot in the bullpen.
Belisario has eventful outing in return
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Nothing comes easily for Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario, who is trying to rebound from visa and substance issues that kept him off the field all last season, resulting in a 25-game suspension to serve this season.
Finally in camp, Belisario couldn't even take the mound Saturday without getting into trouble, as umpires halted the game because he was wearing two bracelets on his left (non-pitching) arm.
One of the bracelets, however, has religious meaning to Belisario, who refused to remove it. Rather, he accepted the option of pitching with sleeves covering both arms. Coincidentally or not, Belisario then allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits with a walk in a ragged one-inning performance.
Belisario explained that the silver bracelet was easily removable, but the second one, a green and yellow beaded wristlet, is an idol, part of his Santeria religion, which originated in Western Africa and was blended with Catholic and Native Indian influences after being brought to the Caribbean by slaves.
"I can't take it off," said the Venezuela native. "The umpires say it's a rule. It's the first time it's happened. But I've seen guys pitching with it. I'm not going to remove it. Next time, I'll be prepared."
Crew chief Todd Tichenor confirmed the rule, saying pitchers cannot wear any bracelets or armbands on either arm while pitching.
Sellers removed after being struck by batted ball
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Dodgers infielder Justin Sellers left Saturday's game against the Mariners after being hit in the chin by a bouncing batted ball while running the bases and was taken to Camelback Ranch-Glendale to be evaluated.
Sellers, running from first base, was struck on the right side of the chin by Mark Ellis' bouncer as Sellers appeared to lose sight of the ball after stopping to evade it.
Sellers remained in the game for one more inning before complaining of headaches and was removed.
"He wanted to keep going, but was a little lightheaded and had a headache," said manager Don Mattingly. "He was [medically] cleared and sent home. He said he didn't see the ball."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.