Dodgers' Hanley Ramirez Hints at Early Return to Lineup

Matthew HernandezContributor IApril 17, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 12:  Hanley Ramirez #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the MLB game at Chase Field on September 12, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 3-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Fourteen games into the regular season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have scored just 39 runs.  Dodgers' shortstops have a combined batting average of just .159.  Both numbers rank second to last in the National League with only the Miami Marlins putting up lower numbers.  

It is a long season. Slumps happen. Every team hits a dry spell. These all might be true statements, but it has become apparent that the Dodgers miss their three-time all-star shortstop Hanley Ramirez.  

Ramirez has not played this season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. The injury occurred in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic while playing for the Dominican Republic.  

Early estimates had Ramirez sitting out until mid-May.  According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Ramirez plans to shock everyone by returning sooner than expected.

"Way sooner," Ramirez said.

The Dodgers decided to go with Justin Sellers at shortstop in Ramirez's absence for his defensive abilities and manager Don Mattingly is satisfied with Sellers' performance in that area.  However, with runs being hard to come by and all-star center fielder Matt Kemp off to a cold start (.185 avg., 0 HR), the Dodgers could certainly use Ramirez's bat (24 HR, 92 RBI in 2012) in the middle of their lineup.  

Last week, Ramirez took to Twitter to let his followers know that his cast was removed and plans to use the same outlet when announcing his return.

According to Shaikin, Ramirez said "It's a surprise. I'm going to tweet it."

Though signs point toward an early return, all we can do is wait for that tweet.