Hanley Ramirez has a comeback for Marlins
For Hanley Ramirez, the standings do the talking.
The Miami Marlins anointed Ramirez as the face of their franchise in 2008, signing him to a six-year contract extension and telling fans he would carry the team into its new ballpark. On Thursday, seven weeks after the team traded Ramirez, Marlins President David Samson explained why.
“We just realized we couldn’t win with him,” Samson told mlb.com. “It was that simple.”
Ramirez, enjoying a pennant race at Dodger Stadium, shot back quickly Thursday afternoon.
“Now are they winning without me?” Ramirez said.
Since the Marlins traded Ramirez to L.A., they have fallen into last place in the National League East. Their winning percentage has fallen — .464 before the trade, .383 after — and they will finish with their third consecutive losing season.
“I don’t think it’s one guy,” Ramirez said. “If it was me, you know, OK. I had a lot of good memories there. They gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues.”
The Dodgers, like the Marlins, have not fared as well since the trade — winning percentages of .541 before and .467 after — but Ramirez has hit better. In 93 games with Miami, he hit .246 with 14 home runs and a .749 OPS. In his first 45 games with the Dodgers, entering play Thursday, he hit .260 with 10 homers and an .811 OPS.
His explanation for the better play in L.A.?
“Less stinking,” he said.
Now batting second
Shane Victorino batted sixth Thursday, the first time he has batted below the No. 2 spot since the Dodgers acquired him July 31.
Andre Ethier replaced Victorino in the No. 2 spot, and Manager Don Mattingly said that probably would remain the case against right-handers. Victorino is batting .225 against right-handers and .286 against left-handers; Ethier is batting .330 against right-handers and .223 against left-handers.
The Dodgers’ starting lineups have included 16 players at No. 2 — including five players in that spot just once: James Loney, Nick Punto, Jerry Sands, Justin Sellers and Juan Uribe.
Before the Dodgers conducted a phantom infield Wednesday, Mattingly said he ran the idea past Magic Johnson — not because Johnson is his boss, but because he wanted to solicit ideas for reviving the team from other sports figures. Mattingly said Johnson told him about times when former Lakers coach Pat Riley would alter the usual routine by canceling the shoot-around on game day.
“Just out to get counsel,” Mattingly said. “You want to get people who have been through it. You don’t want to be hard-headed and think you know everything.”
Closer Kenley Jansen, who has not pitched since Aug. 27 because of atrial fibrillation, is expected to see a specialist Friday. Mattingly anticipates Jensen will return Tuesday. … Ted Lilly, who had been trying to return as a situational left-handed reliever after sitting out almost four months because of shoulder and back issues, was scratched from a scheduled simulated game Thursday and sent for medical consultation instead.
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