The left hand of Hanley Ramirez is just swell. Skeptical? Hey, ask him.
“Normal,” Ramirez said. “I’m not complaining about anything. It is what it is right now.”
Which is what, exactly? Not perfect, it seems. Maybe not close.
Since Ramirez was hit on the hand in San Francisco on Wednesday by a Ryan Vogelsong fastball, he is one for 15 with five strikeouts.
But he says the hand is fine, and when have we ever known an athlete to be less than truthful about an injury?
“No, nothing,” he said. “I want to be hurt. Last year I was hurt and I did better.”
Yeah, he laughed after saying that, but Ramirez is loath to give credit to an opposing pitcher or to blame injury for any struggle. And this is definitely a struggle. Ramirez admits that even if the hand was killing him, he wouldn’t admit it.
“No, but I mean, I’m 100%,” he said. “I just lost a little bit of my timing. I don’t know why. I have to get back on track. I’ve been doing everything -- getting here early, going in the cage.
“But it’s April. At the same time I gotta do better. I can’t wait until May gets here and my teammates can get on my back.”
Monday night against Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee, Ramirez went 0 for 3, with two strikeouts and a walk.
“He was throwing a lot of strikes,” Ramirez said. “There’s nothing you can do. He made a couple of mistakes that I wasn’t missing last year. It’s my fault. I cannot miss those pitches. It’s what you live for.”
For what it’s worth, Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said Ramirez has not mentioned any problems with the hand. Ramirez was held out of the next day’s game after being hit, but has played the last four games.
“He’s not complaining about anything,” Mattingly said. “He’s not getting treatment.
“I think it’s going to be a matter of time and Hanley is going to get rolling. He’s seeing the ball good. I’m sure he’s starting to press a little bit at this point. But I think he’s OK.”
Not at the moment, he isn’t. Ramirez, though, learned something about overcoming injury last year when he had thumb surgery just before the season began, later went on the disabled list with a strained hamstring and finally was hit in the ribs by a pitch in the team’s first playoff game.
“I learned a lot from that,” Ramirez said. “It’s made me tougher.
“But sometimes things are not going to go your way. You have to just leave them behind and come back stronger tomorrow.”