Dodgers prepare to be without Hanley Ramirez on opening day
PHOENIX – Preparing for the possibility that Hanley Ramirez could be sidelined on opening day with a thumb injury, Manager Don Mattingly moved Luis Cruz from third base to shortstop for the Dodgers’ exhibition game on Wednesday.
The projected opening-day shortstop, Ramirez was injured on Tuesday night playing for the Dominican Republic in the final of the World Baseball Classic. He is expected to travel to Phoenix on Wednesday and undergo a MRI exam in the afternoon.
Mattingly acknowledged the Dodgers are concerned.
“Enough to get a MRI,” Mattingly said.
Mattingly said he was presented by the team’s medical staff with a wide range of scenarios.
“The optimistic side is … it’s just a sprain and it’s a couple weeks,” Mattingly said. “The pessimistic side is it could be something major and it’s more long-term, eight to 10 weeks.”
Opening day is in 12 days.
If Ramirez can’t play on April 1, Cruz will likely replace him at shortstop.
“That’s really who was doing it last year and kind of settled us down at short,” Mattingly said.
Under that scenario, the Dodgers would probably rotate Jerry Hairston Jr., Juan Uribe and Nick Punto at third base.
Dee Gordon is also an option at shortstop. Playing Gordon at shortstop would allow Cruz to remain at third base. Gordon is currently listed as day-to-day with a sprained ankle.
“With all the positives of the WBC, this is just kind of one of the negatives,” Mattingly said.
Dodgers lineup vs. Royals in Surprise:
Skip Schumaker LF
Mark Ellis 2B
Matt Kemp CF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Jerry Hairston Jr. DH
Luis Cruz SS
Yasiel Puig RF
Nick Punto 3B
Tim Federowicz C
(Aaron Harang P)
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