The Los Angeles Dodgers made the climb up the Nation League West standings and now sit in first place, enduring multiple injuries and subpar seasons from Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and others.
It’s been a rather frustrating season for Ramriez, who seemingly hasn’t been able to get going at the plate or remain healthy.
The 30-year-old shortstop was nearly placed on the 15-day disabled list as he battled both calf soreness for a second time this season and irritation in the AC joint of his right shoulder. Perhaps making Ramirez’s situation more frustrating is him being in the final year of his contract.
According to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, manager Don Mattingly believes thoughts for a new contract don’t necessarily subside:
I don’t think it can not be on your mind,” Mattingly said. “I think it’s just there. No matter what anybody says, it’s always there. It may go away for 10 days or two weeks and then he has a bad week and it’s about that. Or he has a real good week and it’s, ‘Oh, they better get him signed.’ It bends it one way or the other all the time and I think it’s hard not to think about it.”
As for whether or not the lack of a new contract has led to Ramirez’s slump, Mattingly said an answer may not come until after the season:
He may not be able to answer that until the season’s over,” Mattingly said. “He may be able to look back and say, ‘You know what? I was trying too hard’ or ‘I wasn’t myself.’ I think he’s the only one who can answer those questions and he might not be able to answer them right now.”
Ramirez hasn’t blamed his struggles this season on not having a new deal and questioned why he’s been focused on for struggling:
We’re not playing tennis,” he said. “It’s 25 guys. It’s not just me. Why just me? We have a guy who nobody expected to play the way he is right now, Dee Gordon. He’s having an unbelievable year. He’s been the key at the top of the lineup, him and Puig.”
Mattingly has acknowledged the Dodgers are a better team when Ramirez is playing well, however he’s also stated he will continue to replace the shortstop late in games for defensive purposes.
Since avoiding the DL, Ramirez started in three consecutive game before receiving a day for rest Sunday. While he’s in back in the lineup Tuesday, it’s as the designated hitter. Ramirez is hitting .273 with 11 home runs, 48 RBIs and .838 OPS.
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