Ramirez getting back in the swing
Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly said he has noticed that Manny Ramirez has fouled off more pitches down the first base line in recent games -- a sign that he’s regaining his timing.
“That means he’s waiting longer, seeing the ball better,” Mattingly said.
Ramirez was two for four on Monday and had an RBI double and a two-run homer Tuesday.
Mattingly said he was under the impression that Ramirez became overly home run conscious in the 15-game stretch from July 24 to Aug. 8 in which he hit .190.
“Like anybody else, he is a better hitter when he’s not really worried about hitting the ball out of the park,” Mattingly said. “It seemed like he swung harder than we’ve seen him swing. He’s hit to the left side a lot on the ground, fouling balls off down the third-base line.”
Mattingly, who saw Ramirez often as a coach with the New York Yankees, said Ramirez’s 50-game suspension probably contributed to him uncharacteristically chasing pitches out of the strike zone.
“He never got into a good rhythm,” Mattingly said. “He’s always been a slow starter.”
Hudson gets some rest
Orlando Hudson was held out of the Dodgers’ lineup because of a strained left groin he suffered the previous night.
Hudson and Manager Joe Torre downplayed the severity of the strain, but Torre said Hudson could also sit today, meaning he would have three days of rest counting the Dodgers’ off day Thursday.
“I’ll be all right,” Hudson said. “I don’t think it’s something that will linger on.”
Weaver to start
With Chad Billingsley scratched from his scheduled start today because of a strained left hamstring, long reliever Jeff Weaver is set to step in to face Giants ace Tim Lincecum.
Because Weaver pitched three innings against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, the Dodgers called up knuckleballer Charlie Haeger from triple-A Albuquerque to back him up.
Haeger, 25, was 11-6 with a 3.55 earned-run average in 22 starts with Albuquerque.
He pitched in 19 major league games over the last three seasons. To open a roster spot for Haeger, the Dodgers optioned left-hander Eric Stults to Albuquerque.
The experimental treatment that was credited for healing the elbows of Takashi Saito and Claudio Vargas is being used to treat Billingsley’s hamstring.
Billingsley received an injection of platelet-rich plasma in his leg Saturday, which was why trainer Stan Conte thought he was able to make enough progress to throw a bullpen session Monday.
Like Saito and Vargas, Billingsley had blood drawn and spun to isolate the platelets, which clot and promote healing.
The platelets, 10 times more concentrated than in normal blood, were injected into the site of the injury.
Torre said he remained hopeful that Billingsley can make his next scheduled start, against St. Louis on Monday at Dodger Stadium.
Ticket truck launched
The Dodgers started selling tickets out of a truck that will visit various events, parks, grocery stores and retail locations in the greater Los Angeles area.
Tickets purchased from the truck will not have a service charge added to their price.
The Dodgers’ Twitter feed at twitter.com/dodgertownusa will update fans on the truck’s location.
Taking the vehicle for its inaugural drive at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday was Snoop Dogg.