Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez said Sunday he is prepared to return to the lineup this week despite a sore right shoulder but said he hopes the discomfort does not linger.
“Hopefully, it’s not something I have to deal with the rest of the season,” he said.
Ramirez, who leads the team with a 1.050 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, jammed his right shoulder Aug. 4. He completed a full workout Sunday but said he still felt discomfort when extending his arm on his swing and when throwing to first base.
“I’m just worried if I am going to keep feeling that every time I throw the ball,” he said. “If I have to play like that, I’ll play.”
Ramirez said the Dodgers’ medical staff has assured him the condition should improve over time. Indeed, he said, “I’m getting better every day.”
Dee Gordon, starting in place of Ramirez on Sunday, made three errors.
“That was a little rough to watch,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “I’m sure it wasn’t any fun for Dee. It’s a little concerning.”
Ramirez has seven errors in 55 games, Gordon six in 23. Justin Sellers, who opened the season at shortstop while Ramirez recovered from thumb surgery, had three errors in 23 games.
Ramirez sat out his seventh consecutive start Sunday. In his lone appearance over the last week, he struck out as a pinch-hitter Friday. If the Dodgers had not used him, they could have put him on the 15-day disabled list and activated him a week from Monday.
Mattingly said the team had no regrets over its decision to keep Ramirez off the disabled list, citing the Dodgers’ 6-1 record since then.
“What does it hurt you? We’ve been able to survive it so far,” Mattingly said. “If it ends up being 10 [days], it still saves us five.”
In a baseball world far too concerned with hexes and jinxes, Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon was downright refreshing in his explanation about why he batted pitcher Jeremy Hellickson eighth on Sunday.
“It’s the perfect moment to try,” Maddon said. “If we happen to get into the World Series, is it something we would want to utilize, and why?”
Maddon leans toward the unconventional, but never before had he batted a pitcher eighth. He said he discussed the idea last week with Tony La Russa, who often deployed that strategy as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals.
The strategy made sense Sunday, Maddon said, because he moved cleanup batter Wil Myers into the No. 2 spot, ahead of Evan Longoria.
“Without Myers batting there, he’s not going to get pitched to all night,” Maddon said.
Maddon wanted two position players to bat ahead of Myers.
Mattingly said he has considered batting Zack Greinke eighth, ahead of Gordon, should Gordon start against a left-hander. Gordon, who bats left-handed, is hitting .213.
Greinke is batting .385. Mattingly said he asks Greinke to be ready to pinch-hit every day he is not pitching, unless he is starting the next day.
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez left the game in the eighth inning because of what Mattingly called lightheadedness. Gonzalez said after the game he felt fine and expected to play Monday.
“He needed a Power Bar or something,” Mattingly said.