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Hanley Ramirez's injury-filled season is costing him millions

BaseballHanley RamirezShin-Soo Choo
Missed games due to injury could cost Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez in free agency
Hanley Ramirez seems to be constantly nursing some sort of injury, but he has avoided the disabled list

Hanley Ramirez is losing millions with each passing day.

A free agent after this season, it’s going to be difficult to join baseball’s super rich when he can’t stay on the field.

The Dodgers saw what a healthy Ramirez could do last season, when he caused harm to baseballs all year and looked a lot like baseball’s best hitter. He wanted to return and the Dodgers wanted him back, though initial talks apparently indicated the Dodgers first wanted him to prove he could stay healthy.

And that’s been a losing battle for Ramirez pretty much the whole season.

He’s out of the lineup again Wednesday in Pittsburgh, this time with a bruised hand, meaning he’ll have started only 80 of the Dodgers’ first 103 games -- all without going on the disabled list.

But he continually seems to be nursing one injury or another. A finger, a thumb, a hand, two calf injuries, and most concerning, a shoulder.

He’s 30 years old, not 40, yet it seems increasingly clear the Dodgers would be foolish to seriously invest in a player they can’t count on to stay healthy. It’s not his fault he got hit on the hand by a fastball in St. Louis on Sunday, but his injury history is clear.

Back in May, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Ramirez was thought to be looking for a contract in excess of the $130-million deal free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo picked up last off-season.

And if Ramirez were healthy and hitting as he did last season (.345 batting average, 20 homers, 57 RBIs in just 304 at-bats), no doubt he’d get it. But right now he’s neither healthy nor hitting particularly well. In 300 at-bats this season, he is batting just .273 with 11 homers and 49 RBI.

But it’s difficult to put up superstar numbers when you’re playing hurt all the time. Despite his off-handed comment last month -- “I can live with whatever I got in the bank right now” – Ramirez knows what’s at stake both for himself and his team.

It’s another day without Ramirez in the lineup, and it’s hurting the team’s present and his future.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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BaseballHanley RamirezShin-Soo Choo
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