Saturday, April 17, 2010
Ramirez's calf still tight
By Tony Jackson
Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez was out of the lineup against San Francisco on Saturday after leaving Friday night's game with tightness in his right calf, although with the Dodgers playing a day game after a night game, it isn't clear whether he would have played anyway. Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Ramirez probably would be available to pinch hit and that he was hopeful Ramirez could return to the lineup on Sunday.
Torre said Ramirez's calf has been bothering him intermittently since the team's season-opening series in Pittsburgh early last week and that it flared up again after he ran out ground balls in each of the first two innings on Friday night. Ramirez played the third inning defensively, then left the game.
Ramirez appeared in nine of the Dodgers' first 10 games this season, starting eight of them.
Against two-time defending Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, the Dodgers fielded a lineup that didn't include Ramirez, didn't include Rafael Furcal, didn't include Casey Blake and didn't include Russell Martin. But Torre defended what was, at least by comparison to the team's regular alignment, a skeleton crew, saying it was more about the quick turnaround following Friday night's game.
Torre also pointed to the fact that three of the players who filled in -- Garret Anderson in left, Jamey Carroll at short and Ronnie Belliard at third -- have been everyday players or close to everyday players in the past.
"I have to do what is best for us over the long haul," Torre said. "I can't concern myself with who the other team's pitcher is. If somebody has outstanding numbers [against that pitcher] and is sitting down, you can't do that. But there aren't too many guys who have outstanding numbers against Lincecum."
Although it is a small sample size in all three cases, the Dodgers have three players who have career averages of .500 against Lincecum -- Belliard and Blake DeWitt are 3-for-6, Anderson is 2-for-4 -- and all three of them were in the lineup. Andre Ethier is hitting a respectable .294 (5-for-17) against Lincecum, with a home run, but with six strikeouts.
Although veteran right-hander Vicente Padilla came to the Dodgers with a reputation for throwing at hitters, the Giants didn't seem to take exception to Padilla's hitting former All-Star Aaron Rowand in the helmet on Friday night, fracturing two bones in his cheek. Moreover, Torre said he didn't anticipate any retaliation.
The incident occurred in the fifth inning, with the Dodgers leading by five runs, runners on first and second and one out.
"First of all, I wish people would take the situation into consideration more than anything else," Torre said. "If you're going to make a statement, that certainly isn't the time to do it. He does have movement, and Rowand is on top of the plate. That is something that happens with someone who sits on top of the plate. [Derek] Jeter is the same way, and Frank Robinson was the same way, and they got hit a lot.
"I didn't see any reaction over there that had me believing they were angry or anything."
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com