Dodgers call up infielder; Clayton Kershaw decision looms

Hanley Ramirez was walking around the Dodgers clubhouse before Sunday’s game with lighted incense, almost like Pedro Cerrano in the “Major League” movies trying a little voodoo to turn things around.

The problem with Ramirez is his sore thumb, not hitting a curveball. And the Dodgers, uncertain how quickly he will respond from Saturday’s injury and how it might affect his throwing, called up infielder Carlos Truinfel on Sunday and optioned reliever Jose Dominguez back to triple-A Albuquerque.

The Dodgers said Ramirez bruised his right thumb Saturday when he batted a ball off the end of the bat and the knob struck his thumb. Ramirez said the numbness that had bothered him afterwards had dissipated by Sunday.

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said Ramirez might be able to pinch hit Sunday, but concern over his ability to throw pushed the Dodgers to call up Truinfel.

Ramirez “looks like he’s day-to-day,” Mattingly said. “We think there’s a chance of him being used today. Unless we go backwards somehow, I’m pretty sure he’ll be ready to go in Minnesota.”

The Dodgers claimed Truinfel off waivers from the Mariners on April 2. Mattingly has never seen the 24-year-old play. Truinfel was batting .291 for Albuquerque, where he primarily played shortstop.

“We’re kind of at that point where we were a little nervous about the throwing side of it,” Mattingly said. “We were already short, and if you go another short fielding-wise, it puts us in real danger. So we felt like we were in a spot pitching-wise we had kind of gotten everybody on track rest-wise, and with tomorrow’s day off, we should be OK.”

After Monday’s day off, the Dodgers play three games in Minnesota where they can use a designated hitter. If it’s deemed Ramirez can hit but is not ready to throw, that could throw a wrench in the Dodgers’ plans to use four outfielders.

The Dodgers are also still trying to determine if Clayton Kershaw should make his next start on a rehab assignment or with the team. Kershaw, on the disabled list with a sore back, threw 56 easy pitches in his first rehab start Friday and believes he’s ready to join the club.

Kershaw threw a bullpen session before Sunday’s game, but the Dodgers have yet to determine his next move.

“He threw his ’pen, I think everything went good with that as far throwing,” Mattingly said. “Now we’re in the process of what’s next.

“I’m not sure who’s winning the argument. I’m sure the decision is going to be made with some common sense for the whole season.”

Mattingly said it’s only reasonable to expect a starter to jump about 15-20 pitches as he builds up arm strength between starts, meaning Kershaw could only be expected to throw around 75 pitches in his next start, wherever it is.

“There will be people making that decision and Clayton can be a part of that and share his two cents,” Mattingly said. “Then there will a decision made going forward.”

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