Marlins SS Ramirez goes on DL with back strain

The Florida Marlins’ All-Star shortstop joined their All-Star

pitcher on the disabled list Monday.

Hanley Ramirez was placed on the 15-day DL for the first time in

his career because of a strained back, with the move retroactive to

May 30. Ace Josh Johnson has been on the disabled list since May 21

with right shoulder inflammation.

”It’s very frustrating, because those are the guys we built the

team around,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said. ”There’s a hole in

the rotation and in the lineup.”

Their absence has been felt. The Marlins went into Monday

night’s game against Milwaukee with a season-worst four-game losing

streak that dropped them to five games above .500.

Left-hander Brad Hand was selected from Double-A Jacksonville

and will make his major league debut taking Johnson’s turn in the

rotation Tuesday night against Atlanta.

It’s unknown how long Ramirez or Johnson will remain sidelined.

Ramirez hasn’t played since May 29, and while he said he felt

better Monday, he’s not expected to resume any baseball activities

for at least two or three days.

”I don’t want to rush myself,” Ramirez said. ”But it’s not

fun watching the game from the bench.”

Johnson is throwing long toss daily, and there’s no timetable

for anything more rigorous. He will likely make a couple of

rehabilitation starts before rejoining the rotation.

”We just want those two guys 100 percent healthy,” Rodriguez

said. ”When that’s going to happen, nobody knows. If we keep

playing at least .500 for the next month, whenever they get back we

should be in good shape.”

Ramirez has been in a season-long slump and is hitting just .210

with four home runs. But the absence of the 2009 NL batting

champion has caused Florida’s young hitters to press, Rodriguez

said.

The Marlins have also had trouble finding a replacement for

Johnson. With little depth in starting pitching in the minors, Hand

is expected to make at least two starts after going 7-1 with a 3.53

ERA in 11 games for Jacksonville.

The 21-year-old Minnesotan said he was surprised to learn of his

promotion Monday.

”After our game my manager called me in,” Hand said. ”We had

been playing Birmingham. He went through the lineup on how to get

them out, and he started saying, `Dan Uggla, Chipper Jones … ‘ He

said, `You’re going to the big leagues, kid.”’