ST. LOUIS — The Dodgers might have dodged a bullet.
Fearful that shortstop Hanley Ramirez might be lost to the disabled list because of a shoulder injury, or even lost for the season, the Dodgers indicated Monday that perhaps neither will happen.
Ramirez “felt a lot better this morning,” Manager Don Mattingly said. “His movement is a lot more today than yesterday.”
Ramirez injured his right shoulder Sunday against the Chicago Cubs when he tumbled into the Wrigley Field seats while catching a foul ball.
He was expected to get an MRI exam Monday in St. Louis, but with Ramirez feeling better, the Dodgers held off for at least 24 hours to see how the shoulder responded.
Another reason was that the dye used in the exam probably would have slightly exacerbated the injury.
“The dye, I think, is like three days off right away” in terms of delaying playing time, Mattingly said.
Ramirez had “a similar injury this winter in the Dominican; he was hitting within four days,” Mattingly said. “He feels like this [injury] is less than that.”
Ramirez has played a key role in the Dodgers’ surge. He had hit safely in 13 of 15 games since the All-Star break, batting .313 (20 for 64) with three home runs, six doubles and 12 runs batted in.
Dee Gordon returns
The Dodgers recalled 25-year-old infielder Dee Gordon from triple-A Albuquerque and pitcher Stephen Fife was optioned to the same club. But Gordon’s return was planned even before Ramirez was injured.
“He was coming back before this happened,” Mattingly said. “We were going to send Fife [down] today one way or the other. ... Dee was coming back.”
Mattingly said the original plan for Gordon was “to pinch-hit, pinch-run” and be used “in different ways in double switches.”
Now, with Ramirez out, Gordon will be the starting shortstop at times. Nick Punto, 35, started Monday’s game in place of Ramirez, but the Dodgers “don’t feel Nick’s the guy we can throw out there five, six days in a row, so we’ll spread that around a little bit,” Mattingly said.
Gordon had played well lately in the minor leagues. He hit safely in his last 17 games and was batting .307. He had 44 stolen bases to lead the Pacific Coast League.
Newly signed relief pitcher Brian Wilson, still working his way back into big league form, was expected to make his first appearance for the organization Wednesday with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the Dodgers’ Class-A affiliate. ... Clayton Kershaw was selected National League pitcher of the month for July. The left-hander was 4-1 in six starts last month and led the NL with a 1.34 earned-run average. ... The Dodgers returned to Busch Stadium with three members who were part of the Cardinals’ 2011 World Series-winning team: Punto, Skip Schumaker and coach Mark McGwire.