SAN FRANCISCO — The Dodgers intend to win this season, and they intend to play Hanley Ramirez at shortstop. When he rejoins the Dodgers this week, the team will have little more than a week to get him ready to play the position.
Ramirez is the designated hitter for the Dominican Republic in Monday's World Baseball Classic semifinal against the Netherlands. He has alternated between third base and DH in the tournament, batting .176 with two home runs in the previous six games.
His fielding last season so concerned the Dodgers that they wanted him to play shortstop in winter ball, but a shoulder injury limited him to DH. He played 25 innings of shortstop over six games at the start of spring training, then left to join the Dominican team.
Jose Reyes of the Toronto Blue Jays is the starting shortstop for the Dominican, backed up by Erick Aybar of the Angels. When Ramirez returns to Camelback Ranch, he will have gone almost three weeks without playing a game at shortstop.
Tony Pena, the Dominican manager, declined to answer the question of how much that might put Ramirez behind in preparing for the season. Pena did say the Dodgers did not call and ask that Ramirez play some shortstop.
Pena said he met with Reyes, Aybar and Ramirez before the tournament.
"I would love to have you three guys in the same game, in the same lineup," Pena told the players. "I don't know how I am going to do it, unless one of you guys moves and plays third.... Hanley just bought into this and said, 'I'll play third.'
"We want to play everybody but, also, we want to win. We are here to win, and they understand that."