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05/18/10 9:20 PM ET

Dodgers place Ethier on disabled list

Red-hot slugger could be out as long as six weeks

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers placed Andre Ethier on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, three days after he broke his right little finger in batting practice. Ethier said he's been told he could be out up to six weeks, although two to four weeks is the usual healing time.

"I've been told three to six and two to four. Who knows?" he said. "We have to let the bone heal so there's no pain."

Xavier Paul was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque and was in the starting lineup for Tuesday night's game with Houston. General manager Ned Colletti said there are no plans to acquire a replacement.

"We're not going out to make a trade for somebody," Colletti said. "This is an opportunity for somebody else to play."

Ethier, off to one of the greatest starts for a Dodgers player in recent history, suffered an avulsion (or chip) fracture of the first knuckle of the right little finger when it slipped and was pinched under the bat knob during a swing. Ethier said he had suffered similar injuries in the past, but never resulting in anything more severe than a bruise.

The fracture is caused when the finger is hyperextended and a tendon pulls the bone apart. Ethier's finger was placed in a splint on Sunday to immobilize the fracture with the hope he would still be able to swing a bat, but the pain made that impossible. He will remain in the splint until the bone is fully healed and the pain is gone.

The chip was considered small. Had it been larger, surgery would have been required to insert a pin with a longer recovery time.

"The [disabled list] decision was made because, what's the point of pushing it if it changes the way I play or swing?" said Ethier. "Let that bone heal enough to go back to being the same guy."

That guy was leading the National League in all three triple crown categories at the time of his injury, batting .393 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs. He also led the Major Leagues with a May average of .490, a .980 slugging percentage and 19 RBIs.

Ethier, who will continue working out, was holding a bat Tuesday while wearing batting gloves that had the finger part of the glove cut off. He said he won't make any changes in the way he grips or swings the bat.

"The bad part is that the team was really coming together," he said. "It was a long month and a half to get in this position right now and missing time now is the tough part."

Manager Joe Torre said he would choose Ethier's replacement in the lineup "by feel," with Paul, Reed Johnson and Garret Anderson in the mix.

"We'll try to spread it around and keep everybody sharp," said Torre.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.