- Mark Saxon, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez has a hairline fracture in one of his ribs, but played in the team's 3-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Monday night.
Ramirez, who wore a lightweight flak jacket to protect the rib, had two hits and drove in the Dodgers' final run in the eighth inning with a soft single to center field.
Ramirez tested the injury by taking batting practice and ground balls on the field at Dodger Stadium three hours before the game. He lunged for one ground ball and hit a line drive off the center-field wall. Ramirez said he likely would not play if the Dodgers hadn't entered Monday's game in a 2-0 hole in the series.
"They made a trade for me, and it means a lot for me," Ramirez said before the game. "Since the first day that I got here, they showed me a lot of love and a lot of respect. I'll do anything for this team and this city. I'm going to go out there tonight for the fans and for my teammates just looking for the first win."
Ramirez said he was given painkillers. He also was wearing padding around his ribs, the same padding won by NFL running backs. A CT scan Sunday revealed a hairline fracture in the No. 8 rib on Ramirez's left side, the team said. He was hit by a Joe Kelly fastball in the first inning of Game 1 and played all 13 innings of that game but did not play in Game 2.
Ramirez said he did not sleep Sunday night.
"This is no time to lay down right now," Ramirez said. "You've just got to keep going out."
Before Ramirez's workout, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly sounded concerned that it could be difficult for Ramirez to play through the injury.
"You can say you should play through it or whatever, but it's easier said than done when you're trying to stop on a Trevor Rosenthal 99 mph fastball that turns into a cutter and your rib is cracked," Mattingly said. "That's not an easy thing, but we'll see what Hanley wants to do. He has constantly said he's vowed to play, but that's just a different thing."
Ramirez batted .345 with a .638 slugging percentage this season, in which he was slowed by thumb, hamstring and back issues. He was hitting .444 with four doubles, a triple and a home run in the postseason, prior to Game 3.
Both Ramirez and Mattingly have said they don't think Kelly hit the shortstop intentionally.
"I've said it in the past. Our guys are going to protect our own guys, that's for sure," Mattingly said. "But it just didn't seem like a situation that they're trying to hit Hanley there."
The Dodgers also had Andre Ethier back in center field Monday night despite an injured left ankle. Ethier played Game 1 but was not running at full speed, which might have affected his ability to catch a Carlos Beltran line drive that went for a two-run double. He subsequently sat out Game 2, which the Dodgers lost 1-0, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 series lead.
Ethier, who went hitless in four at-bats Monday, had said he felt good enough to play but had to discuss it with Mattingly and the trainers before a final decision.
Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez has a hairline fracture in one of his ribs but will start Game 3 of the National League Championship Series with the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.