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.

It’s official: Brandon Hyde named new Orioles manager

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It was not a secret that the Orioles wanted Cubs coach Brandon Hyde as their new manager. Reports swirled three days ago that he was going to get the job, though the Orioles denied it, calling them “premature.” Now, however, it’s official: the Orioles just announced that Hyde will be their new manager.

Hyde, 45, spent four seasons as a player in the minors with the White Sox from 1997-2000, then played in the independent Western League in 2001 before ending his playing career. He was a coach with the Marlins from 2010-12 and has been with the Cubs since 2013, most recently as their bench coach.

Hyde takes over for Buck Showalter, who led the Orioles from 2010-18. Last season Baltimore finished 47-115, posting its worst record in team history. To say that Hyde’s order is a tall one is an understatement.