On April 16, the Los Angeles Dodgers held their collective breath when Hanley Ramirez was hit by a Ryan Vogelsong fastball on his left hand. The 30-year-old shortstop went down in a heap of pain and was immediately pulled in the seventh inning of what wound up being a 2-1 loss for the Dodgers.
X-rays on Ramirez’s hand were negative and he said after the game he would make every effort to play the following day. Ramirez was unable to play in the Dodgers’ next game, but then vowed on the morning of April 17 that he would be back in the lineup on April 18. This time, Ramirez was correct and he started at shortstop as the Dodgers began a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks at home.
Ramirez didn’t show any noticeable affects of being hindered by what had transpired days before. However, he did struggle at the plate and continues to do so. After the Dodgers were dominated by Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies, Ramirez gave some assurances that he is not bothered by his hand, according to Valley Bay News’ Ryan Walton:
Hanley Ramirez says his hand is fine from being hit in San Francisco. He also said he wouldn't tell us if it wasn't but he feels it is 100%
— Ryan Walton (@RyanWaltonVBN) April 22, 2014
Since being hit by the pitch, Ramirez is just 1-for-15 with one RBI and five strikeouts. Ramirez’s lone hit was a single and he has reached base just three times in his last 15 at-bats. It’s been a sharp decline in production from someone whom the Dodgers rely so heavily on in the No. 3 spot of their batting order. Prior to game Ramirez was struck by the pitch, he tallied 15 hits and 7 RBIs through 14 games.
Along with struggling to hit for average, Ramirez has been tentative at the plate, which is uncharacteristic for one of the Dodgers better hitters. Ramirez has taken a called strike three on multiple occasions in the Dodgers last few games. While the Dodgers certainly need the threat Ramirez poses in their lineup, they may also need to live with the peaks and valleys at the plate that may come with their shortstop possibly playing through lingering pain or soreness.
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