LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Hanley Ramirez thinks he’ll be ready to test his sore left hamstring in a couple of days, but the Dodgers had one response to that.
Not so fast.
Manager Don Mattingly said it will probably be four or five days before Ramirez can attempt to run again at full speed and return to the lineup. More important, it won’t require another trip to the disabled list.
An MRI on Ramirez showed no additional damage, but the Dodgers want to make sure he doesn’t come back too soon. They called up infielder Justin Sellers from Triple-A Albuquerque on Monday, giving them an additional bench player with Ramirez not available.
Sellers took the place of pitcher Matt Magill, who was sent down. The Dodgers have off days on Thursday and next Monday, so they don’t need an additional starter until next week. By then, Mattingly is hopeful that Chris Capuano (left shoulder strain) will be off the DL and ready to return to the rotation.
Ramirez said the issue is more behind his knee than in his hamstring, adding, “My hamstring is good.” That’s why he said it would only be two days before he can run again.
But Mattingly said, “We’re learning not to listen to Hanley. We’re listening to medical on this. We want him to get better completely.”
With Ramirez out and Matt Kemp still on the DL, Mattingly dropped rookie Yasiel Puig from the leadoff spot to No. 4 in the batting order in an attempt to give him more RBI chances. But he stressed it was probably temporary.
“I like him (hitting) one, two, in that area because he’s exciting up there and changes the game,” Mattingly said. “But maybe just for today or for a few games until we get some guys back, this may be a spot that gives us the best chance to win.
“I’m not trying to mess him up, and I don’t think it messes him up, but if you can hit you can hit, and it doesn’t matter where you’re hitting in the lineup.”
Puig batted .464 in his first week in the majors, winning National League Player of the Week honors. He also had four home runs and 10 RBI and led the majors with 27 total bases.
When someone asked whether Puig would face any added pressure in the cleanup spot, Mattingly joked, “Hitting is hitting. He’s possibly one of the greatest players that ever lived, so I figure he can handle the four hole.”
Kemp also had an MRI on Monday, and Mattingly said he was encouraged in the progress the center fielder is making from his strained right hamstring.
Kemp is eligible to be activated from the disabled list on Friday, but it’s more likely he’ll spend a few days on a rehab assignment. He probably won’t return to the Dodgers until next week when the team is on a nine-game road trip.