Hanley Ramirez Injury: Updates on Dodgers SS's Back, Likely Return Date
Ramirez was pulled out of the game in the top of the seventh inning by manager Don Mattingly with "mild left hamstring tightness," according to the team.
Hanley Ramirez left the game for precautionary reasons with mild left hamstring tightness. #Dodgers— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 13, 2013
UPDATE: Saturday, Sept. 14
The Dodgers' official site has more info on Ramirez:
Hanley Ramirezhas an irritated nerve in his back, the Dodgers announced Friday. The club said the shortstop received a cortisone injection and is expected to be available to play next week.
This is not a new injury for Ramirez, who spent 15 days on the disabled list in 2011 with a lower left back strain when he was with the Marlins. Ramirez had an MRI exam Friday afternoon, and the Dodgers said it showed no difference in comparison to an MRI exam of the same area in 2011.
UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 13
From CBS' Danny Knobler:
Dodgers announce Hanley Ramirez has irritated nerve in his back. They expect him to be able to play next week.— Danny Knobler (@DannyKnoblerCBS) September 14, 2013
Mattingly indicated after the game, which saw Adrian Gonzalez get a game-winning hit in the bottom of the 10th inning, that Ramirez wouldn't play Friday but that his long-term prognosis was fine.
"I think he's OK," Mattingly said (via ESPN's Mark Saxon). "He gets tight during games and he always says he's fine. It's just one of those where I was feeling like we couldn't take the risk right there with him."
The Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez reports that Ramirez will be replaced in the Dodgers' lineup by Nick Punto, as he was Thursday night:
Hanley Ramirez out of the #Dodgers lineup today. Nick Punto at SS.— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) September 13, 2013
A capable utility man, Punto has filled in all over the infield this season for the Dodgers. He holds a slash line of .257/.333/.327 with two home runs and 21 RBI.
While Punto is a capable fielder who should fill in short-term, it will be impossible for him to replace Ramirez's production. The 29-year-old shortstop has been nothing short of astounding since coming back from injury in June, batting .342 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI while adding 10 swipes on the basepaths.
That production will ultimately be missed, but the Dodgers can afford to be patient for now. Los Angeles comes into Friday night's game at Dodgers Stadium with an 86-60 record, good for a 12.5-game lead in the National League West. The team is nipping at the heels of the Atlanta Braves for home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs, and has been unquestionably the hottest team in baseball since Ramirez's return.
What's concerning is the recurrence of this particular injury. Ramirez missed a month earlier in the season due to a left-hamstring injury initially diagnosed similarly. If this injury proves to be similar, it could send the Dodgers back to the drawing board for their World Series hopes.
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