Dodgers not rushing Hanley Ramirez back from hamstring injury

Leave a comment

While the Dodgers lost 7-0 to the Cardinals last night and currently sit at 19-27 on the season, they aren’t about to rush Hanley Ramirez back from his left hamstring injury.

Austin Laymance of MLB.com reports that Ramirez ran curves, took batting practice and fielded ground balls before last night’s game. He estimated that he’s only running at about 85 percent, but he plans to test his hamstring by running the bases today.

Ramirez returned from a torn thumb ligament on April 29, but he strained his hamstring in his fourth game back on a slide into third base. While he hopes to begin a minor league rehab assignment “soon,” he was told by teammate Matt Kemp that he shouldn’t push himself too soon. Kemp should know, as he made it back from a left hamstring strain as soon as he was eligible last year, but aggravated the injury two days later and ended up missing six weeks.

“They know what’s happened before to guys that try to come back early and it didn’t work,” Ramirez said. “[Kemp] told me you have to be 100 percent and don’t try to come back early. By the time I get back, I want to make it all the way to the end of the season.”

Ramirez was originally given a timetable of 4-6 weeks, so he appears on track to rejoin the Dodgers in early-to-mid June.

A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

Getty Images
1 Comment

It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.