In the wake of a 4-1 defeat to the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night, the Dodgers wouldn't say if Hanley Ramirez was headed to the disabled list for the first time this season.
Ramirez underwent a MRI exam in the afternoon to determine to extent of the damage to his right side, as Manager Don Mattingly said Ramirez is believed to have injured a muscle in the area. The typical recovery time for a strained oblique is about a month.
"Obviously, it didn't sound good," Mattingly said.
Mattingly said the Dodgers were still waiting for their team physician, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, to review the results of the exam.
Then again, Mattingly basically admitted that he lies about the health of his players. When told his medical prognoses are often inaccurate, Mattingly smiled and replied, "I could be better, but I don't want to be."
Ramirez was injured Friday warming up in an indoor batting cage at Miller Park. Later that day, he came out of the series-opening loss to the Brewers in the bottom of the first inning.
"It affects us," said pitcher Zack Greinke, who took the loss against the Brewers. "We just want him to be healthy, eventually, whether it's four days or 30 days. He's got to be healthy when he's playing, or at least close to healthy. He can't be playing hurt the whole year."
Ramirez has missed games because of a calf strain, a bruised hand and shoulder inflammation, but has steadfastly refused to be placed on the disabled list.
Greinke said there were times this season when "you can tell something's bothering him a little bit."
In Ramirez's absence, Miguel Rojas started at shortstop Saturday. Defensively, the 25-year-old Rojas is a significant upgrade from Ramirez. Offensively, he doesn't offer much, as he is batting .202.
The Dodgers might be a better team with Rojas at shortstop when Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp are all hitting. But on a day like Saturday, when a solo home run by Gonzalez accounted for the team's entire run production, Ramirez's absence becomes a problem.
Rojas said he is ready to step in for Ramirez.
"It's going to be a good challenge for me," Rojas said. "This way I can prove I can do that job too."
Rojas was in his seventh minor league season when the Dodgers called him up from triple-A Albuquerque on June 6. He had never played in the major leagues.
At the time, Rojas said his objective was to remain on the major league roster. He has, establishing himself as a reliable late-game defensive replacement for Ramirez.
"I feel a little bit established," he said. "I feel I accomplished a lot."
He said he intends to stay here.
"I don't want to go back to the minor leagues," he said.
He's aware he has to improve his hitting, which is why he said he spends considerable time in the batting cages.
"I'm working every day," he said. "Even if I'm playing, I'm working with the hitting coaches in the cages. I'm trying to get my timing down. I'm trying to create a routine and stick with it."
Last season, Rojas batted .233 for double-A Chattanooga. He was batting .302 for Albuquerque in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League at the time of his promotion to the majors.
Rojas said the pitching he sees now is far superior to what he saw in the minor leagues, but he said he feels prepared for whatever is asked of him.
"I was in the minor leagues for seven years, two with this organization," he said. "I was ready for this opportunity."
Follow Dylan Hernandez on Twitter @dylanohernandezCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times