Should the Dodgers move Hanley Ramirez to third base?

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Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles makes the case that the Dodgers should move shortstop Hanley Ramirez over to third base. Citing the advanced defensive metrics — though without the necessary warning of a small sample size — Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating, Saxon points out that Ramirez grades out poorly through the first two months of the season, at -10 and -6.9, respectively.

The Dodgers lost third baseman Juan Uribe to a hamstring injury last week and he may be out a while longer still. Saxon suggests Ramirez could take over for Uribe at third base while Erisbel Arruebarrena (and, later, Alex Guerrero) could grab the everyday shortstop job.

Ramirez, 30, is in the final year of a six-year, $70 million contract extension signed with the Marlins back in May 2008. He can become a free agent after the season. Recent reports indicate that he is seeking an extension in excess of $130 million to stay with the Dodgers. In 219 plate appearances this season, Ramirez is slashing .245/.324/.434 with seven home runs and 26 RBI.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.