Dodgers “uneasy” that Hanley Ramirez isn’t playing enough shortstop in offseason ball

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Hanley Ramirez played in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, is currently participating in the Caribbean Series, and has committed to suiting up for the Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. But Ramirez has not — and will not — play shortstop in any of those events.

Which has the Dodgers’ front office concerned.

According to MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez, Los Angeles management is growing “uneasy as its prized asset continues to play games outside the U.S. and away from shortstop.” Ramirez has been DHing in the Caribbean and will start at third base in the 2013 WBC.

“It’s really hard to say, ‘Don’t play for your country,'” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters recently at a charity event. “I’m kind of torn. Selfishly, I’d like Hanley to be in camp playing short every day.”

Ramirez already rates poorly at shortstop and obviously isn’t working to improve this offseason.

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.