Sports Dodgers

Loss is not what the doctor ordered for Dodgers

Hanley Ramirez sits out 5-3 setback to Phillies because of calf injury
Team has been downplaying severity of injuries this season
Dodgers continue to be plagued by defensive problems

Hanley Ramirez didn't play Saturday in the Dodgers' 5-3 defeat to the Philadelphia Phillies, as he was a late scratch from the lineup with what was said to be sore left calf muscle.

That could be significant. Or not.

Considering it's the Dodgers who are involved, it's impossible to tell.

In the hours following Alex Guerrero's in-game altercation with triple-A teammate Miguel Olivo this week, a high-ranking team official implied the Cuban infielder didn't sustain injuries that would require him to miss any games.

As it turned out, Guerrero had a significant piece of his ear bitten off and is now expected to be sidelined for more than a month.

That was far from an isolated incident.

From the back muscle injury that landed Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list in April to any of three leg injuries suffered by Matt Kemp last year, the Dodgers initially downplayed them at first.

It's entirely possible Ramirez could return to the lineup Sunday for the Dodgers' series finale at Citizens Bank Park. It's also entirely possible he won't.

"I don't know," Manager Don Mattingly said.

Mattingly is the team's designated spokesman on medical issues. He acknowledged Ramirez was unavailable to pinch hit, but offered few other details.

"I'm not sure exactly of the full situation, other than that his calf was sore," Mattingly said.

Mattingly said Ramirez first felt something in his calf Thursday, when the Dodgers faced the New York Mets at Citi Field.

That was the day the Dodgers called up shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena from double-A Chattanooga. Arruebarrena has started at shortstop in place of Ramirez in the last two games.

Ramirez didn't play Friday on what was said at the time to be a scheduled day off. He took batting practice Saturday.

"I don't know if it's just a little tightness or cramp," Mattingly said. "I think it was something about the push-off. I'm hoping he'll be available tomorrow. We'll just have to see."

Ramirez was unavailable for comment. By the time reporters were allowed in the clubhouse after the game, he had departed.

Whatever the truth, Ramirez hasn't looked this year the way he did last year. His defensive range has diminished. The Dodgers' No. 3 hitter, he is batting .250 with seven home runs and 24 runs batted in.

Aside from his calf problem, Ramirez has lingering shoulder and back issues for which he continues to receive treatment. He injured his thumb April 26.

Even though Arruebarrena is considered an upgrade over Ramirez as a fielder, the Dodgers continued to be plagued by defensive problems Saturday.

With one out and one on in the first inning, Chase Utley hit a high popup that was dropped by catcher A.J. Ellis in foul territory. Utley sent Dan Haren's next pitch into the right-field stands, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead.

Ellis blamed himself.

"I just missed it," Ellis said. "Just a bad defensive play by me. I put our team in a bad spot. You can't give a team extra outs, you can't give a Hall of Fame-caliber hitter an extra swing."

As for the Dodgers' second error, the team said the umpires were responsible.

Haren fielded a dribbler by Ben Revere in the fifth inning, but his throw to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez went wide. The ball sailed into foul territory down the right-field line, allowing Revere to reach third.

Revere scored on a groundout by Jimmy Rollins to extend the Phillies' lead to 5-2.

"When I got the ball, he was definitely inside the line," Haren said. "I didn't really have anywhere to throw. I made a really bad throw, but in hindsight, I probably should have just thrown it at him and hit him with the ball. Then I think umpires will call it more often than not. If you just throw it wide, a lot of times the umpires will not call it."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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