Lower back pain forces Hanley Ramirez to the disabled list

1 Comment

As expected, the Marlins have placed Hanley Ramirez on the disabled list with ongoing lower back problems.

Ramirez hasn’t played since May 29 and revealed that the back soreness is so bad that it kept him from being able to put on his shoes, calling it “the worst pain I’ve ever had in my life.” All of which makes it hard to believe he’ll be ready to come off the DL when eligible on June 14.

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald notes that this is the first time Ramirez has been placed on the DL in his six-year career. He’s played in 806 of a possible 866 games since debuting with the Marlins in 2006, leading all MLB shortstops with an .889 OPS during that time.

However, Ramirez hadn’t been himself this season, hitting just .210 with a .615 OPS through 48 games, although even that is more or less the same as fill-in shortstop Emilio Bonafacio’s career .634 OPS.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

Getty Images
Leave a comment

All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉