Thus far, the only consistent connection between the 2013 Hanley Ramirez and this season’s version is injuries. While Ramirez hasn’t missed nearly as many games as he did last season, his inability to remain healthy has been the prevailing storyline.
Ramirez was on the verge of being placed on the disabled list as he had been unable to shake irritation in the AC joint of his right shoulder and a sore left calf. Aside from one start and three pinch-hit appearances, the injuries kept Ramirez out of the lineup in five of the last nine games heading into Thursday.
The shortstop tested his calf prior to Thursday’s game with the Colorado Rockies and was deemed healthy enough to start. Ramirez went 0-for-2 with two walks and was removed for defensive purposes in the eighth inning of the Dodgers’ win.
When comparing his numbers through 78 games this season to the 86 he played last year, Ramirez doesn’t believe he’s too far off and said he isn’t focused on his personal stats, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
We are only 80-something games through the season. What do I need? Nine more homers to get 20? How many months I got left? I can hit three and then two, how many will that be? Sixteen? I don’t care about numbers. People hit .220 and win the World Series. What’s better?”
Ramirez then addressed the expectations that have been placed on him because of how well he swung the bat last season:
That’s my fault. Hitting .350 with 20 homers and I don’t know how many RBIs in 80-something games. Now, I should be hitting .700 with 40 homers and almost 200 RBIs. That’s my fault. But I tell you what: The only thing I can do is keep working hard every day to get better. It’s what I do every day.”
As for nearly being placed on the DL, Ramirez stated it isn’t something he wanted to occur and acknowledged he isn’t capable of easing up, despite the Dodgers’ wishes:
They want me to take it easy,” he said, “I can’t do it.”
While Ramirez did look healthy and relatively agile in his return Thursday, if he is to get injured within the next handful of games or so, the Dodgers may regret not placing him on the DL. Had they opted to on Thursday, Ramirez would have been eligible to be reinstated when the Dodgers resume playing after the All-Star break.
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