Caution was the key word on Friday as Don Mattingly talked about how the Dodgers are going to treat the tightness Hanley Ramirez has been experiencing in his left hamstring.
He said five times they want to be cautious with the way they bring Ramirez back to prevent any further injury to the hamstring that has already kept him out of one month of the season.
Ramirez was removed from the Dodgers 3-2 walk off on Thursday, after telling trainers about the tightness, but this has been an ongoing issue.
"A couple of days in a row, as the game went on he got tightness, so it was like, OK, we aren't going to keep doing this," Mattingly said Friday.
This is not just a problem from the last couple of days.
Ramirez is really good about telling the trainers when he feels any tightness, and Mattingly said, "these are things we have been hearing the last two or three weeks."
But enough is enough.
"It's just gotten a little farther than we are comfortable with," so now is the time to bench the superstar shortstop.
Ramirez had an MRI on Friday and even if the results come back clean he will be taking some time off. He will not start this weekend against San Francisco, and possibly even in Arizona next week.
"We are sitting here with a fairly good lead," Mattingly said. "We are really trying to be on the cautious side of making sure it didn't go anymore. We will be careful with him as far as making sure he gets back out there and is feeling well."
The Dodgers currently have a 12.5 game lead in the NL West and a magic number of 5.
Expect to be seeing healthy doses of Nick Punto in Ramirez's absence. The last time Ramirez missed nine games with a shoulder injury Punto stepped up hitting 9-20 with six RBIs, five runs scored and four walks.
Dee Gordon will also get some time at short, but that depends on how long it takes to bring Ramirez back.
Mattingly wants to stick with Punto.
"Nick is pretty much the guy we go to," he said. But "if it's any extended period of time, then we got to take care of Nick, too."
Ramirez has been hitting .353/.410/.706 with seven runs, seven RBIs and three home runs in September.
As the team awaits the MRI results from Friday, all they can hope for is he is ready to join the team in time for the postseason.
Hanley Ramirez's MRI results came back on Friday about an hour before game time. There was no damage to the hamstring, but they did discover an irritated nerve in his back. J.P. Hoornstra reports that Ramirez did receive a cortisone shot, and the Dodgers announced that they expect he will be available to play by next week.