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Is it time for the Dodgers' Enrique Hernandez to shine?

Is it time for the Dodgers' Enrique Hernandez to shine?
Dodgers' Enrique Hernandez rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run off Pittsburgh pitcher Francisco Liriano on Saturday. (Keith Srakocic / Associated Press)

Correct answer: It had better be.

Howie Kendrick went down with a hamstring injury in the Dodgers' Sunday nightmare loss to the Pirates. Like with all hamstring injuries, it's unknown how long Kendrick will be out.

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He is scheduled for an MRI today, which will help clarify the severity, but offer no definitive answers about his return. Just know this: In 2008 Kendrick twice went on the disabled list with an injury to the same hamstring and he missed 65 games.

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FOR THE RECORD

1:57 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to Jose Peraza as Jose Peralta.

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Certainly Kendrick did not sound optimistic after Sunday's game when he said: "It's about the same area. It's very similar. So don't expect to see me playing tomorrow. When I get it healthy this time, you've got to play a little more cautiously."

Meanwhile, the Dodgers have to find a replacement and first up is Enrique Hernandez.

Hernandez is a versatile, if precocious, sort who has played second and shortstop, plus all three outfield positions this season. He came to the Dodgers in the off-season in the trade of … second baseman Dee Gordon.

Can Hernandez be an everyday major league second baseman? Who knows? No one will until they gave him the chance. Manager Don Mattingly said Sunday that Hernandez deserves the opportunity.

Overall Hernandez – who turns 24 in two weeks – is batting .293 with five homers and 15 RBI in 123 at-bats. He has .341 on-base and .520 slugging percentages. He has been nothing if not promising. Certainly, he doesn't lack for confidence.

Although he's appeared in only nine games at second base for the Dodgers this season, that was his primary position in the minors.

Should the Dodgers elect to dip into their system, their current second baseman at triple-A is Jose Peraza, the highly regarded prospect the Dodgers picked up from Atlanta in that three-team deal at the nonwaiver trade deadline.

In his first 10 games at triple-A Oklahoma City, Peraza has a .385/.415/.590 slash line. Out of Venezuela, he is only 21 years old. He was originally a shortstop moved to second base because the Braves have 25-year-old Andrelton Simmons at short.

So there's that option. For now, though, expect Hernandez to get the first opportunity. Mattingly is correct: He's earned it.

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They can't expect him to be the rock that was Kendrick at second, but they should be open to discover what he can be.

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