Hanley Ramirez claims he is on track to rejoin the Dodgers “way sooner” than expected

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From Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

The Dodgers originally thought Ramirez would be out until late May, but he has begun taking batting practice and fielding grounders. The team has outfitted him with a special splint to protect his surgically repaired right thumb that allows him to throw.

“It’s awesome. No pain, nothing,” Ramirez said. “Definitely it’s going to happen way sooner than it’s supposed to.”

The Dodgers have not confirmed that Hanley is ahead of schedule, but they’re also not denying it.

Ramirez fractured his right thumb on March 19 while playing for his native Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He underwent surgery to repair the broken bone on March 22.

Filling in for the Dodgers at shortstop has been Justin Sellers, who carried a brutal .176/.263/.265 batting line into Tuesday night’s game against the Padres. Getting Ramirez back early would be huge.