CHICAGO — When
Ramirez, who tumbled into the seats down the left-field line after catching a wind-blown pop up, emerged from the seventh-inning wreckage with what the Dodgers described as a "jammed" right shoulder. The preliminary diagnosis was purposely vague, as the Dodgers didn't know whether the outstanding hitter would be sidelined for days, weeks or months. Ramirez is expected to undergo an MRI exam Monday in St. Louis.
High-ranking club officials said they were bracing themselves for the worst, which could explain why the atmosphere in the clubhouse was noticeably downcast in the wake of a 1-0 victory over the
"Anything with him is serious because of what he's been able to do," Manager
Ramirez played only four games in the first two months of the season, after which the Dodgers were in last place. The Dodgers are 51/2 games ahead of the second-place
"What I said for a long time, our missing link was Hanley Ramirez," hitting coach
The only definitive statement Mattingly made about Ramirez's shoulder was that it wasn't dislocated. Mattingly, who has acknowledged intentionally misleading reporters about the severity of injuries, wouldn't say whether he thought Ramirez was headed back to the disabled list.
Ramirez thought he would avoid his third DL stint this season, but the former batting champion acknowledged that was largely because he didn't want to consider the alternative.
Ramirez offered some more concrete reasons for his optimism. He said he never felt anything pop in his shoulder. He added that he felt worse when he suffered a similar injury playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic and returned to play later in the winter.
"The difference was I was only DHing down there," the shortstop said.
Ramirez had surgery on his left shoulder two years ago.
The Dodgers' cleanup hitter, Ramirez is batting .361 in 54 games and has 11 home runs and 37 runs batted in. With
Nonetheless, the Dodgers could be better prepared to withstand Ramirez's absence than they were earlier in the season. Their rotation has been bolstered by the improved forms of