Since being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hanley Ramirez has been nothing short of a model citizen, mentor and a consistent threat to opposing pitchers from his customary No. 3 spot in the Dodger order. Along with Yasiel Puig, Ramirez was also instrumental in the Dodgers’ turnaround and push into the playoffs last season.
Already having dealt with injuries to multiple players, the Dodgers held their collective breaths when Ramirez was hit on the left had by a Ryan Vogelsong fastball in the seventh inning. Ramirez was removed from the game and underwent X-rays, which came back negative. Following the loss, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the team expected to know more on Ramirez’s status come Thursday, and the shortstop said he would make an effort to play in the finale of the three-game series.
Ramirez was not in the lineup on Thursday, but according to ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon, left little doubt as to whether he’ll play on Friday:
I’m not going to try. I’m going to be in there,” Ramirez said Thursday morning. “I’m going to be in there tomorrow.”
Ramirez also dismissed any notion Vogelsong may have been targeting him and claimed support from his teammates, via Saxon:
I get protection. Everyone in here has got my back,” Ramirez said. “Everyone knows it wasn’t on purpose.”
Prior to exiting Wednesday’s game, Ramirez had played every inning of the Dodgers’ 14 previous games. The 30-year-old, who may become a free agent after the season, is no stranger to injury during his tenure with the Dodgers. He missed the start of the 2013 season with a thumb injury and played through a cracked rib in the NLCS.
Should Ramirez return to the lineup on Friday he would presumably be playing through some swelling and pain. While no injury, however minor it may be, is wished for, the Dodgers would have been better off had Ramirez been hit earlier in the season when the scheduled afforded them plenty of time off. The next off day for the Dodgers is not until April 28.
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