Ramirez's Comeback Could Jump Start Dodger Offense

Dodgers disappointed at lack of production from infield's left side

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Los Angeles slugging shortstop Hanley Ramirez says he's ahead of schedule to return to the lineup from the disabled list after surgery on his thumb injury suffered in the World Baseball Classic. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

    Hanley Ramirez “I See You” bobblehead night is Tuesday, April 30, but the Dodgers’ shortstop hasn’t been expected back from the disabled list until late May.

    So are the Dodgers sending a message to Dominican infielder that they sorely need his bat in a lineup where the left side of the infield has been hitting a level associated with another Hispanic – Mendoza, as in the dreaded hitting-challenged Mendoza line?

    “Me necesitan, no crees?” – “They need me, don’t you think?” Ramirez has been telling Spanish-speaking reporters this week as he himself has been promoting the idea that he’s going to be back in the lineup long before the Dodgers anticipate.

    Ramirez underwent surgery on March 22 to repair the thumb he injured while diving for a ground ball for the Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic.

    Doctors said he would be out about eight weeks.

    But Ramirez has been on his own time-table. Even with a plaster cast covering half of his hand, he had been throwing, and then the cast was removed on Friday.

    Now, wearing a removable splint taped to his thumb, Ramirez has intensified the throwing, along with hitting off a tee and taking swings at soft-toss pitches.

    “There’s no pain – it feels good,” Ramirez said Wednesday.

    It’s no secret that the Dodgers need another bat in the lineup, especially with Matt Kemp’s slow start. But it’s been the silent bat of substitute infielder Luis Cruz that has really surprised the Dodgers, especially after his good showing last year.

    This season Dodgers shortstops have been hitting .167, the worst in the majors, and their third basemen have been batting .178.

    Ramirez said it has been frustrating sitting out the first two weeks of the season, especially with the hitting woes, but that the team understands it’s early.

    “I want to be in there,” he said. “And I will be.”

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