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Friday, September 13, 2013
Ramirez undergoes MRI on hamstring

By Dan Arritt, Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com
Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Hanley Ramirez didn’t make an appearance inside the Los Angeles Dodgers clubhouse prior to Friday’s game against the visiting San Francisco Giants. The hot-hitting shortstop was getting an MRI on his bothersome left hamstring, which flared up again Thursday night in the series opener at Dodger Stadium.

The absence of the team’s most productive hitter just two weeks before the end of the regular season would have most playoff-bound managers pacing the hallways, but Don Mattingly didn’t seem overly concerned as he chatted with reporters before the game. One reason is the 12 ½ game lead the Dodgers own in the National League West. Another is what the coaching and training staff has been seeing and hearing from Ramirez in recent weeks.

"What Hanley was telling us [Thursday] night isn’t something we haven’t been hearing,” Mattingly said. “As the game went on he got tightness, so it was like, ‘OK, we’re not going to keep doing this.'"

Ramirez, who missed 28 games earlier this season with a strained left hamstring, departed Thursday’s game in the sixth inning after telling trainers he felt tightness in the same area. The previous inning, he had jogged stiffly to first base after grounding to third.

“Hanley was feeling OK about everything,” Mattingly said of the night before. “He didn’t think anything was going on. We just wanted to be sure.”

Ramirez is hitting a team-high .342 with 18 home runs and 53 RBIs in 79 games, better numbers than rookie sensation Yasiel Puig has posted in nine more games. Mattingly was waiting to hear the results of the MRI, which could be released later Friday night, before estimating how long Ramirez could be sidelined.

With the likelihood of the Dodgers clinching a playoff spot in the coming days, Mattingly sees no need to rush him back.

“Obviously we don’t want to take anything for granted, but we are sitting here with a pretty good lead,” he said.

Nick Punto will fill Ramirez’s role at shortstop Friday night and will remain the No. 1 defensive option while Ramirez is out. Dee Gordon will spell Punto if Ramirez is sidelined for an extended period of time, Mattingly said. Juan Uribe moved into the No. 4 spot in the batting order for Friday’s game, the first time he has hit cleanup in more than three years.