The Los Angeles Dodgers look like they might be poised to go on the hot streak everybody has been expecting from them this season. Unfortunately it might have to continue with sporadic contributions from slugging shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
Ramirez has dealt with a variety of injuries this season. A recurrence of his shoulder troubles kept him out of the Dodgers’ lineup once again on Tuesday. According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez couldn’t start Tuesday because of recurring discomfort in his arthritic right A/C joint at the top of his shoulder, where he received a cortisone injection two weeks ago.
It sounds like any information beyond his absence from the lineup was pretty fuzzy, as Gurnick also reported that manager Don Mattingly was not aware if Ramirez was going to have another cortizone shot or not. If this injury continues to crop up or linger, a trip to the disabled list seems more and more likely.
At this point it is hard to peg down just how valuable Ramirez is to the Dodgers. His bat is still clearly a key aspect of their lineup at its best, something that was on display in 2013. His offense is down a tick in 2014 and he is still batting a solid .269/.354/.469 with 11 home runs and 46 RBI. When he is out they miss his bat.
Then again, their defense in the infield improves significantly when Ramirez sits. That is just as true in understated, less noticeable moments as it was when he cost Clayton Kershaw a perfect game this week.
In the end the Dodgers are still better with Hanley Ramirez because of his bat. But because of his defense, they might not be so bad without him.