ATLANTA — One of the Dodgers at the center of Hanley Ramirez’s transition to the team is coach Manny Mota.
Ramirez, acquired three weeks ago from Miami after his relationship with the Marlins soured, batted .395 with 14 runs batted in during the Dodgers’ trip that ended Sunday, and he gave much of the credit to Mota for boosting his confidence.
Mota, 74, said he and Ramirez “talk every day” about multiple topics, including that Ramirez “doesn’t need to carry this team on his shoulders. We’ve got Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and he’s just doing his part.”
Ramirez and Mota also study video of Ramirez’s at-bats in 2009, when Ramirez won the National League batting title, and compare them with his swing today to make adjustments.
Mota said he also talks to Ramirez about being a Dodger.
“I explained to him about this organization and its great history, winning tradition,” Mota said. “He told me he’s very proud and pleased and happy to wear the Dodger uniform.”
Mota said he’s known Ramirez, 28, since watching Ramirez play as a youngster in the Dominican Republic and that “he still hasn’t reached his potential. He’s still learning how to play the game and he’s still maturing, as a man, as a player.”
As for Ramirez’s troubled history with the Marlins, Mota said, “The first thing I told him when he got here was, whatever happened in the past is already gone. When he joined this team, it’s like a new beginning for him.”
Next up: Giants
As they battle for first place in the National League West, the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants meet Monday in the first game of a six-game Dodgers homestand.
“They’re big games,” said Manager Don Mattingly, who returns Monday after a two-game suspension for excessive arguing during Thursday’s game in Pittsburgh.
The Dodgers and Giants have been “staying right there stride for stride, and that’s what you have to do, you can’t blink,” Mattingly said.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw starts Monday against another left-hander, the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner.
“Going against Frisco is a good series for us because we’re going to end up coming off a pretty good trip,” Mattingly said. “You’re coming home to a big series, so you know you’ve got to be ready to play right away; there’s no breather just because you’re coming off the road and back home.”
Asked whether he was surprised the Giants have continued playing well despite losing Melky Cabrera, who is serving a 50-game suspension for using banned substances, Mattingly replied, “Not really. Guys are resilient. And they’ve got pitching.”
Left-handed reliever Scott Elbert threw a scoreless ninth inning Sunday after coming off the 15-day disabled list, and utility fielder Elian Herrera was sent back to triple-A Albuquerque to clear a roster spot for Elbert…. Kemp was hitless in the three-game series against Atlanta.