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Covering LA Sports' Big Three: Lakers, Dodgers and Kings

Punto Fills In Dodgers Hole At Shortstop

Punto is 9-18 for Dodgers in August

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Punto Steps Up For Dodgers As Ramirez Heals

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Nick Punto #7 of the Los Angeles Dodgers singles in two runs for a 4-0 lead over the Tampa Bay Rays during the third inning at Dodger Stadium on August 10, 2013.

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Since Hanley Ramirez went on the DL on Aug. 4, we have seen Nick Punto fill in the Dodgers' hole at shortstop in six of seven games, and he has done an great job. In the month of August Punto is 9-18 with five walks, five RBIs and four runs scored.

He has produced a few signature moments, including a crucial RBI double and the game-tying run in the ninth inning of the Dodgers 6-0 comeback Friday against Tampa Bay. On Saturday he reached base in three of his four at bats, with two RBIs and a run scored.

Though he will not replicate fantastic level of production that Ramirez offers game-to-game, Punto has been far better than expected as the replacement shortstop.

He has been a streaky player all year long, and the Dodgers have caught him in the middle of a hot stretch. He started the season off hot, hitting .340/.427/.847 from April 2 to May 25, but as more players went down with injuries Punto had become an every day starter, and his numbers fell dramatically.

From May 26 to July 28 he played in 42 games, starting in 24 of them, and struggled mightily going 16-109 for a miserable .147/.191/.366 stat line. The fact that Punto has been able to snap out of this long funk and perform so well in Ramirez's absence is just another example of how everything just seems to be going the Dodgers way lately.

Ramirez appears to be days away, he was used as a pinch-hitter on Friday and has been doing throwing drills, hoping to be game-ready soon.

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