Despite dealing with various injuries this season, Hanley Ramirez managed to avoid being placed on the disabled list until he suffered an oblique strain in August.
Ramirez returned from the DL on the first day he was eligible, though it’s largely been much of the same for the 30 year old. In seven games back, Ramirez is just 4-for-28 and has failed to record a hit in five of the games.
However, the shortstop did manage to tie a game against the San Diego Padres with a solo home run in the eighth inning. The home run came after Ramirez went down as he rounded first base and suffered what was later called an issue with his quad.
While Ramirez has yet to get going at the plate, manager Don Mattingly doesn’t believe his struggles are tied to injury, via Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times:
I don’t think he’s hurt now, I just don’t think he’s swinging the bat good,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “I think he has to get himself better pitches to hit.
Mattingly did however leave open the possibility Ramirez is in pain while he’s playing, but added the shortstop may be trying to do too much:
I don’t know if he’s feeling something playing, I don’t hear that part of it. I just think he has to get better pitches to hit and not try to do too much. I think he’s definitely trying to do too much.”
Where Ramirez has improved since coming off the DL is defensively. He’s shown better range in getting to ground balls and collaborated with Drew Butera for an impressive pickoff play at second base.
Along with some of the Dodgers’ postseason hopes riding on Ramirez’s bat, so too is his pending free agency. While showing a better glove will add to his value, the larger draw for Ramirez will come in what he’s able to do at the plate amid injury concerns.
Given the shortstop’s inability to remain healthy for prolonged stretches, the Dodgers and Ramirez’s representatives agreed to hold off on contract negotiations until after the season.
Including Tuesday, Ramirez has 24 regular season games remaining to get back on track at the plate and provide a reminder of the caliber hitter he’s capable of being.
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