Probably hurt himself doing this. (via) Probably hurt himself doing this. (via)

Hanley Ramirez’ All-Star Break Starts Early

In “news that should shock absolutely nobody, anywhere, ever” news, don’t expect to see Hanley Ramirez soon. From Ken Gurnick:

After helping win Thursday night’s game, Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez left with a flare-up of his sore right shoulder and likely won’t start again until after the All-Star break.

Ramirez had another injection in the shoulder, which has troubled him off and on this season. He was replaced at shortstop by Miguel Rojas in the top of the eighth inning of the Dodgers’ 2-1 win over the Padres, even though Ramirez was to lead off the bottom of the inning.

Hillllarrrrrious.

Let’s presume that the idea of Ramirez sitting out — or at least, not starting — the remainder of the Padres series is accurate, and update this running chart I’d made last week:

  • 6/22 @ SD — starts at SS
  • 6/23 @ KC — starts at DH
  • 6/24 @ KC — sits, shoulder
  • 6/25 @ KC — sits, shoulder
  • 6/26 vs STL — sits, shoulder
  • 6/27 vs STL — sits, shoulder
  • 6/28 vs STL — starts at SS, leaves in third inning with calf injury
  • 6/29 vs STL — sits, calf
  • 6/30 vs CLE — sits, calf (pinch-hits)
  • 7/1 vs CLE – sits, calf (pinch-hits)
  • 7/2 vs CLE – sits, calf (pinch-hits)
  • 7/3 @ COL — starts at SS, replaced on defense after eight innings
  • 7/4 @ COL — starts at SS, leaves after five innings due to HBP (hand)
  • 7/5 @ COL — starts at SS, plays full game
  • 7/6 @ COL — does not play, presumably for “rest”
  • 7/7 (team day off)
  • 7/8 @ DET — starts at DH
  • 7/9 @ DET — starts at DH
  • 7/10 vs SD — starts at SS, leaves after seven innings (shoulder)
  • 7/11 vs SD — will not start
  • 7/12 vs SD — will not start
  • 7/13 vs SD — will not start
  • 7/14 — All-Star Break
  • 7/15 — All-Star Break
  • 7/16 — All-Star Break
  • 7/17 — All-Star Break

That’s going to be a full seven days of rest, and that’s not a bad thing. That’s a great thing. It’s exactly what we’ve been saying he needs for weeks. I am pleased!

Except, wait, no, I’m not. Think about the totality of this. I’ve listed 26 days, and 21 Dodger games. Understanding that he may pinch-hit this weekend, in that time, Ramirez has provided:

  • Six starts at shortstop
  • Three full games at shortstop (I’m counting 7/3, because being a bad defensive SS isn’t a health issue)
  • Three starts uncompleted due to injury
  • Three starts at designated hitter
  • 12 games not in the lineup
  • 36 plate appearances, or 1.7 per game (subject to change if he pinch-hits this weekend)

Now despite all this, he’s still been productive – .357/.500/.464 over this span — so I get the impulse to want around; I do. And we all know how thin the depth is with Justin Turner, Chone Figgins, and Alex Guerrero all hurt (although Guererro finally returned to action yesterday, and homered in a rookie-league game). I get all the reasons why. But we know what Ramirez is, don’t we? He’s a phenomenal hitter. He’s a lousy shortstop. He’s unbelievably fragile. Last year, you could have talked around the Joe Kelly pitch to the ribs and the diving into the stands in Chicago and the ball that nearly took off his thumb in the World Baseball Classic as “freak injuries,” but I think we know that’s not really the truth. If health is a skill, it’s one that Ramirez doesn’t have.

So while I’m fine with the idea of him getting a full week off in order to rest up for the stretch run, I’d have been even more fine with a full 15 days off at any time here.  To use just one of many scenarios, had he been placed on the DL after his four-game calf-related time off against the Cardinals and Indians, he’d have been eligible to return for the very first game after the break. He wouldn’t have risked further injury. Don Mattingly wouldn’t have been playing short-handed. This isn’t a unique situation, either. We’ve been seeing things like this on this team for years. Why does this always have to be so complicated?


About

Mike wrote daily for over six long years (2007-13) about the Dodgers at Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness, which was named 2011′s “Best Sports Blog” by LA Weekly. He can currently be found writing multiple times per week at FanGraphs and ESPN, along with producing and editing for Sports On Earth. He lives in New York City and will probably be asleep or on vacation when awesome things happen.