LOS ANGELES – There was a loud “Hey!” behind reporters in the middle of Don Mattingly’s pregame presser on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
As everyone turned around, they saw the bright smile of infielder Hanley Ramirez – clearly excited as he grabbed his batting helmet to start batting practice.
On Tuesday, the Dodgers activated Ramirez from the 15-day disabled list. He will bat cleanup and play shortstop in Tuesday night’s game against the Padres. As happy as Ramirez is to be back, there may not be anyone happier than Mattingly.
“Every night Hanley plays, he’s got a chance to be the best guy on the field,” Mattingly said. “Hanley’s really good.”
The Dodgers skipper needs a bat and his players need rest.
Mark Ellis, who will be in the lineup Tuesday night, has missed the last couple of games with a mild groin injury. Ramirez’s return allows Nick Punto to “get his battery charged,” with an off-day.
Tuesday marks the second time this season Ramirez has returned from the disabled list. He started the season on the DL after injuring his thumb in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic.
He returned just in time for his “I See You” bobblehead night and promptly hit a home run commemorating his first night back.
In just five games this season, Ramirez is hitting .455 with a home run and two doubles. Mattingly hopes in this, his second return, he plays smart.
“That’s the little thing that I have to control,” Ramirez said before Tuesday’s game. “When I’m out there I always go 100 percent. I want to go from first to third and from second base I want to score. Let’s see how the game’s going push me.”
With Ramirez being activated, the club placed pitcher Chris Capuano on the 15-day disabled list, making it the 18th time the club has used the DL this season. The Dodgers starter was scratched from his start on Monday night with what was thought to be a triceps injury but an MRI revealed a strained lat muscle, Mattingly says.
While most eyes will be on the Dodgers shortstop, just about everybody will be glued to Carlos Quentin’s at-bats. The Padres left fielder will be facing the Dodgers for the first time since being part of a bench-clearing brawl between the two teams that resulted in Dodgers starter Zack Greinke breaking his collarbone.