Hanley Ramirez was ready to return to the Dodgers’ lineup Tuesday just as Andre Ethier was scratched.
Ethier had tightness in his left calf, the result of being hit by a pitch nine days earlier, and the outfielder was sent to a doctor, Manager Don Mattingly said.
“It’s been awhile and it’s gotten worse; all of a sudden it got worse,” Mattingly said. “He’s been having some trouble with it.”
Skip Schumaker started in place of Ethier in center field.
Ethier was hit Aug. 4 by Chicago Cubs reliever Pedro Strop in the ninth inning of the Dodgers’ 1-0 win at Wrigley Field.
Ramirez was set to resume playing after bruising his right shoulder in the same series at Wrigley Field. The shortstop suffered the injury when he fell into the stands while catching a foul ball.
Mattingly said he expected to start Ramirez in Wednesday’s game against the New York Mets.
The Dodgers are off Thursday before opening a seven-game trip Friday in Philadelphia.
Mattingly said the plan with Ramirez was to “play one day, get a day off” and then “see how it went. I feel like he’s ready.”
Nick Punto is in a hot stretch
Playing in place of Ramirez, utility player Nick Punto has enjoyed a sizzling August at the plate.
Punto began Tuesday’s game batting .476 (10 for 21) this month with one home run, six runs batted in and five walks. He hit a two-run double in the fifth inning to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead over the Mets.
“I’m still the backup here,” said Punto, who was acquired from the Boston Red Sox a year ago as part of a multi-player trade. “It’s just nice to be getting these consistent [at-bats] like Donnie’s been giving me.”
Manny Ramirez is released by Rangers
Manny Ramirez was released from his minor league contract by the Texas Rangers, perhaps the last stop in a distinguished yet tarnished career.
Ramirez, 41, was batting .259 at triple-A Round Rock, with three home runs in 30 games.
The Rangers acquired outfielder Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox last week, ending any faint hope for Ramirez that he might be needed to help the Texas offense after the suspension of Nelson Cruz.
Ramirez last played in the major leagues April 6, 2011, for the Tampa Bay Rays. He retired rather than serve a 100-game suspension for a second violation of baseball’s drug policy.
The Dodgers acquired Ramirez in mid-2008. He hit .396 with 17 home runs in 53 games, propelling the Dodgers to their first National League Championship Series appearance in 20 years and so electrifying the stadium that a section of left field became known as “Mannywood.”
The Dodgers re-signed him to a two-year, $45-million contract, but he tested positive for a banned substance and served a 50-game suspension in 2009.
“Just a great career,” Mattingly said about Ramirez. “Just a talent. I loved watching him play.”