Advertisement

Dodgers’ dilemma: Is Hanley Ramirez slumping or not healthy?

Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez makes a throw to first base during the team's 6-4 loss to the Washington Nationals on Monday. Ramirez has struggled at the plate since returning from the disabled list. ** Usable by LA, DC, CGT and CCT Only **
Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez makes a throw to first base during the team’s 6-4 loss to the Washington Nationals on Monday. Ramirez has struggled at the plate since returning from the disabled list. ** Usable by LA, DC, CGT and CCT Only **
(Gus Ruelas / Associated Press)

The Dodgers very much need Hanley Ramirez right now, need him healthy and swinging that electric bat, playing somewhere near his superstar level.

Only right now, Hanley Ramirez doesn’t look good. He looks out of sorts. He kind of specializes in bad body language anyway, but right now he doesn’t look himself.

When you’re slumping, of course, you never look particularly good. You certainly don’t look like the guy who hit .370 last September with a .704 slugging percentage, as Ramirez did.

The Dodgers need that Ramirez, or at least some facsimile of him, if they are likely to do the kind of damage this September they’re planning on.

Advertisement

But since Ramirez returned from the disabled list Aug. 24, he hasn’t even been close to that guy, not that he ever really has been all season. Yet since coming back from his oblique injury, he batting just .143 (four for 28) with two RBIs.

He’s battled one injury or another all season – thumb, calf, shoulder, oblique, leg – and never really been the hitter expected, though he’s apparently not complaining about anything currently.

“I don’t think he’s hurt now, I just don’t think he’s swinging the bat good,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “I think he has to get himself better pitches to hit.

“A couple days ago he had three hits and hit a homer to tie the game. He gets hurt in that game and really hasn’t been as good since that.”

Advertisement

That was when he hurt his leg Friday in San Diego and was forced to leave the game. He did not, however, miss his next start, even after originally not being in the lineup.

But the three hits he had Friday are all but one he’s managed in his past seven games. And it’s not like he’s stinging the ball and being robbed every at-bat.

He doesn’t look like a healthy player. Ramirez, who has been reticent to talk to the media all season, always says he feels fine.

“I don’t know if he’s feeling something playing, I don’t hear that part of it,” Mattingly said.

Advertisement

“I just think he has to get better pitches to hit and not try to do too much. I think he’s definitely trying to do too much.”

There’s still time to get this right, but not an excess amount. If his shoulder is bothering him, that’s a potentially serious problem. If he just needs a couple of hits to get back in the swing, not a problem.

But right now the Dodgers are scuffling offensively and need a productive Ramirez, or it is a very real problem.


Advertisement
Advertisement